I love living in the Bay Area! There is such a rich culture. Also, there’s so much to explore. I recently explored black culture in the Bay Area. I went on a guided driving tour of the San Francisco Bay Area with Toyota. Today, I’ll be sharing some of the places we visited while on the tour.
Steeped In History
The Steeped in History tour was organized and hosted by Toyota. They took a group of us on a tour of landmarks. We drove around San Francisco and Oakland. Each of the landmarks is of African-American cultural importance.
The tour was guided by John William Templeton. Templeton is an expert historian. We started the tour in San Francisco and drove through to Oakland. Then, while we stopped at different locations, Mr. Templeton told us the history of each stop.
2017 Toyota Prius
We were lucky enough to take the tour in style! We rode in the new 2017 Toyota Prius.
The Toyota Prius is a hybrid car. The car has many great features. Some include advanced safety features, parking support, and a smart key system.
Yes, we were enjoying Drake in the car
We toured San Francisco and Oakland caravan-style
Discovering The Bay Area’s Black Culture and History
I want to share some of the places we were able to visit. Hopefully, others can also discover the black culture the Bay Area has to offer. So, here are 10 informative ways to explore black culture in the Bay Area:
1. African American Historical & Cultural Society Plaque
First, we started at the African American Historical & Cultural Society Plaque. This plaque is dedicated to William Leidesdorff. Leidesdorff was key to the growth of San Francisco. Leidesdorff is also memorable for launching the first steamboat in the San Francisco Bay. He also played a part in building San Francisco’s first hotel and being a member of the town’s first council. While on our tour, we also visited a statue built in his honor.
There’s even a street named after him!
2. Mary Ellen Pleasant Memorial Grove
Next, we visited the Mary Ellen Pleasant Memorial Grove. The memorial grove is the smallest park in San Francisco. The grove honors Mary Ellen Pleasant. Pleasant is one of the first black female American millionaires. She had investments in laundries and restaurants. She also gave to money to support the efforts of abolitionists at the time.
3. Sam Jordan’s Bar
Another significant landmark is Sam Jordan’s Bar. However, we didn’t spend much time at this location. This bar is one of the oldest Black restaurants in California. They specialize in Southern-style home cooking. The bar opened in 1959. Sam Jordan, the original owner, is the first African-American to run for mayor in San Francisco.
4. Grace Cathedral
Next up on our tour is Grace Cathedral. Grace Cathedral is an Episcopal church located in San Francisco. It is the third largest Episcopal cathedral in the United States.
5. African American Art & Culture Complex
Another great place we visited is the African American Art & Culture Complex. The African American Art & Culture Complex is located in the Fillmore Jazz District in San Francisco. It displays Afro-centric artistic cultural expression, education, and programming.
There were murals surrounding the parking lot
6. Marcus Books
Marcus Books is the oldest independent black bookstore in the country. It was founded in the 1960s.
7. National Maritime Museum
One of my favorite parts of the tour was visiting the National Maritime Museum. The museum was built in 1959. It was overseen by Sargent Claude Johnson. Johnson is a well-known African-American sculptor and painter. His artwork is seen throughout the museum.
It looks like someone crashed our tour?!
Turns out he was a surprise guest on our tour, The Silver Man!
Let’s talk about this view. Amazing, right?!
Amazing mosaic created by Sargent Claude Johnson
Another visit from our friend
Of course, I had to get a selfie!
8. Bayview Opera House
The opera house is the oldest opera house in San Francisco. It was built in 1888. The opera house also provides arts education and cultural enrichment to those in the local community.
9. African American Museum & Library at Oakland
The museum & library hosts a collection of African American history. It focuses on history in Northern California and the Bay Area. The museum & library was opened in 1946.
10. Third Baptist Church
Third Baptist Church opened in 1852. It is the first African American Baptist church on the West Coast.
Finally, we ended the tour with brunch. We enjoyed a delicious brunch at Picán Restaurant in Oakland.
The restaurant serves a fusion of California cuisine with Southern comfort food. The restaurant also has over 100 styles of bourbon.
Can we talk about this menu? Looks amazing
Gulf Shrimp and Grits
Fried French Toast
Overall, I had an amazing time exploring the Bay Area with Toyota!
Have you taken the time to explore the history in your city? Do you live in the Bay Area? Have you visited any of these locations?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!