African American

Outdoor Afro


One of the Bay Area’s main attractions is its proximity to nature. Only 45 minutes separate Bay Area residents from arriving at the ocean, the mountains, or a hiking trail. But not everybody experiences the Bay Area’s natural beauty. A 2012 study by the Outdoor Foundation found that only 11% of outdoor recreation participants are black. And National Parks Service estimates that black Americans comprise only  7% of its annual visitors.

The Buffalo Soldiers were some of our country’s first park rangers. They proudly wore their uniforms with wide brimmed ranger hats and navy blue jackets adorned with gold stripes.  Just after the Civil War, the US government formed these regiments of black soldiers to patrol and protect nationally designated park land, claimed after the Indian Wars. And their journey started right here in the Bay Area where the Buffalo Soldiers gathered in San Francisco’s Presidio before heading into the mountains of Yosemite and beyond.


Brian Copeland has a weekly  radio show on KGO. Today he is a radio personality, actor, comedian, writer, and performer, but like many of us, he says he got to where he is today thanks to a series of coincidences.

Copeland tells the story of his life in an acclaimed show called “Not a Genuine Black Man.”


After serving time in the Air Force, Nathan Baxter, an African American man from Pennsylvania, ended up in the South in the 1960s. Baxter learned a lot of lessons during and after his service – one of which was how difficult it could be to be a black man in the South at that time. He stopped by mobile Storycorps booth in Oakland to share some never-told experiences with his descendants.

The People's Community Medics

If you’ve ever picked up the phone to call 9-1-1, you or someone else probably needed help. Badly. And you probably assumed that after dialing those three numbers, help would come screeching around the corner, lights and sirens blaring.

Well, the residents of East and West Oakland say that depends on where you live.  In this special hour-long KALW documentary, “The Race to an Emergency” host Martina Castro and reporter Ali Budner trace the path of a 9-1-1 call in Oakland: from the dispatchers to the emergency responders. And they consider how geography and demographics figure into a crisis that has been brewing in Oakland for decades.

Click the player to listen to the hour-long documentary. For more information, links to sources, photos and data maps, please visit the documentary website,  

Note: This piece first aired on October 8th, 2013.  To see the original post and hear the audio from that airing, click HERE.