by Cindy Weil with contributors
Although initial development in the larger Bay Area focused on San Francisco, the coastal East Bay came to prominence in the middle of the nineteenth century as the part of the Bay Area most accessible by land from the east. The Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869 with its western terminus at the newly constructed Oakland Long Wharf, and the new city of Oakland rapidly developed into a significant seaport.
With the railroad, and in addition to the 300,000 largely Asian immigrants who arrived on US soil through Angel Island, the Great Migration also brought six million African Americans relocating from the South to the North, the Midwest, and the West throughout the early- to mid-twentieth century. These three forces were the genesis of the vital Oakland and East Bay communities of today.
The pieces of this totem were primarily donated by East Bay Men Knit and other East Bay communities celebrating their varied immigrant roots.