By Khristan Antoine
The work is not finished.
Or so we learned at the first annual Delilah Beasley Tea, which honored the first female African-American columnist who wrote for The Oakland Tribune from 1915-1934. She unearthed histories of African-American gold miners, lobbied for anti-lynching law and spoke out for literacy and voting rights. She fought against the use of the word “darkie” and the N word in newspapers.
We need that kind of energy today.
It was clear that Belva Davis — also honored at the event — followed in Beasley’s footsteps in her political reporting. Congresswoman Barbara Lee called Davis “a true living legend.” Davis charted the course for women in the whole country, said Lee, paving the way for women in journalism.
Have the times changed? Not really. Davis remembers when she had to use a typewriter and do research from journalism clips, articles cut out from the newspaper. But even now with Google and YouTube, she says, “nothing is recorded in history without human interference.”
Interference means action. The CEO of Girls Inc, Linda Bossehecker, was part of the celebration and announced the opening of a chapter building in downtown Oakland at 510 16th street, one block away from the BART station. “We are expanding to provide nutrition, school counseling and fitness with greater accessibility.”
Girls Inc will do outreach to West Oakland girls in neighborhood schools. Bossehecker said, “If Girls Inc can’t go to girls, they can come to us.”
At least one Oakland student agreed. Oakland Tech student Munirah Harris, 14, found the message “empowering.” “All these powerful women in one place give me hope.”