The African American Museum & Library at Oakland Photograph Collection consists of 2,326 photographs documenting African Americans
in California between 1869-2008. The photograph collection consists of photographs donated to the African American Museum
& Library at Oakland, and its predecessor the East Bay Negro Historical Society. The collection is organized into 28 series
by subject, and includes photographs of significant African Americans such Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall, and
Byron Rumford, and documents various aspects of the African American community in Oakland including athletics, business, churches,
civil rights, early pioneers, entertainment, military, fraternal and women's organizations.
The African American Museum & Library at Oakland (AAMLO) was organized on July 2, 1965 in the home of Marcella Ford as the
East Bay Negro Historical Society (EBNHS). In attendance at the first meeting were the seven founding members of the society:
Marcella Ford, Jesse Ford, Eugene Lasartemay, Ruth Lasartemay, E. Harold Mason, Morrie Turner, and Madison Harvey Jr. The
society’s mission was to “collect, preserve, record, and disseminate information related to the history, culture and experience,
of persons of Black American and African descent, especially those in the East Bay, the State of California and throughout
the West.” The society consisted of members, officers, and an executive board and included library, museum, publications and
publicity, program, membership, finance, and nomination committees which met on the third Saturday of every month. Initially,
the society operated as a unit of the Oakland Unified School District Volunteer Program, with members giving lectures on black
history to students that would visit the library and museum.
In 1970, the society moved to a storefront located at 3651 Grove Street in Oakland, California and remained there for six
years before moving to 4519 Grove St., where it established a museum and library. In 1982, the society was invited into the
Golden Gate Branch of the Oakland Public Library, making it the first Oakland library branch with a collection focused on
African American history and culture. Following the appointment of Dr. Lawrence Crouchett as its executive director in 1988,
the society changed its name to the Northern California Center for Afro-American History & Life (NCCAAHL). In 1994, the City
of Oakland and the NCCAAHL merged to create the African American Museum & Library at Oakland (AAMLO).