Learn About 7th Street

Seventh Street blossomed in the post-World-War-II era because of its proximity to Oakland’s waterfront, where workers had migrated from around the country to work in the naval shipyards during the war. Sailors and soldiers stationed at the military bases along the bay settled in West Oakland after the war, including a large number of African Americans from the South who brought with them the blues sounds from states like Louisiana and Texas. West Oakland also was the terminus of the transcontinental railroad and the West Coast headquarters of the International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first national black union.

Read more of this entry or explore the people, places, clubs, and topics of 7th Street below.


Bob GeddinsBob Geddins recorded most of the musicians of 7th Street, including Saunders King, Lowell Fulson and Sugar Pie DeSanto. He helped countless musicians get their start and wrote blues songs that topped the charts in the ‘50s and ‘60s. More>>


Esther's Orbit Room, early 1980s

Club owner Esther Mabry once described 7th Street as “the only place anyone would ever want to go.” Esther’s Orbit Room was one of the reasons. Founded in the 1960s by Esther and her husband William, Esther’s Orbit Room was a nightclub… More>>


Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters

The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) was an African American labor union organized in 1925 by A. Philip Randolph, who became its first president; and C. L. Dellums, who became the Brotherhood’s first vice president. More>>


Bob Geddins

In the 1960’s, The Bay Area Rapid Transit District, also known as BART, was instrumental in the decline of West Oakland’s struggling 7th Street neighborhood. Early that decade, BART proposed building a track down the center of 7th Street… More>>