Excited to visit the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) for the first time, I got in touch with my friend, Beatriz, a member of their Día de los Muertos committee, as her second guest under her membership. We met by the chalkboard on a Sunday morning, and, after catching up, strode up to the entrance, membership card in hand.
It didn’t take long to realize that it was, in fact, a free day at OMCA, being the first Sunday of February, and Beatriz’s membership was next to irrelevant. Sure enough, looking up from my tunnel vision I realized there were large crowds of people in the museum, including their special exhibit.
After a stroll through their beautiful gardens with sculptures and a great view of Lake Merritt, a walk through their Gallery of California Art including a site-specific installation by Torreya Cummings titled Notes from Camp, and a quick look at the long span of sneakers, I reached All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50.
The Black Panthers special exhibit celebrates the 50th anniversary of the party’s founding. Historical artifacts, photos, video, audio, and more bring this current exhibit alive in Oakland. What stood out most for me was learning that the majority of the party was women within a few years, and that their demands (an immediate end to police brutality and murders of black people, freedom for black men in prison and jail) and the programs (free ambulances) they started are just as relevant today.
Check it out- All Power to the People is extended until February 26th due to popular demand. I suggest the guided tour for a more in-depth experience and a look at the recommended reading list on your way out.