Where do you go to school?”
This is a typical question asked of most college students. It’s an innocent question; not too personal. But how many Mills students have received second glances or a cautious “Oh.” when their response was “Oakland?”
Unfortunately Oakland has a reputation as a deteriorated city full of crime and drugs. Most of the people who think this know nothing of Oakland’s cultural richness, its parks or its ports.
The next time you answer “Oakland” and someone responds with a raised eyebrow or a worried look, here are a few anecdotes taken from the Oakland Tribune (Oct.88) that you can use to defend your city.
1. The first phone booth was built in Oakland.
2. Rand McNally recently declared Oakland as the city with the best climate in America.
3. Although the Oakland A’s have an elephant for their symbol, the city has almost 144,000 Democrats and a little over 26,000 Republicans.
4. Mills College is the second-oldest institution for women in the country, behind Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Begun as a Benicia seminary in 1852, Mills moved to Oakland in 1871.
5. National census figures indicate that Oakland is the most integrated of all U.S. cities, with no true ethnic majority. At least 34 languages are spoken here.
6. It’s the only city in the world with a natural salt water “lake”-155 acre Lake Merritt-within its borders.
7. Lake Merritt is the oldest officially declared wildlife sanctuary in the U.S., having received that designation in 1870.
8. Jack London, a graduate of Oakland High School, dropped out of USC to become an adventurer, leftist agitator and writer. He gained worldwide fame with the publication of Call of the Wild in 1903.
9. Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks and the late film director George Stevens (“Diary of Anne Frank,” “Giant”) were Oaklanders.
10. Isadora Duncan, who gained international fame as a dancer was an Oakland native. Her father was arrested, but not convicted, of illegally using a bank’s money for stock speculation.
11. Legend has it that Children’s Fairyland in Lakeside Park was the inspiration for Disneyland.
12. On May 20th, 1937 Amelia Earhart, the world’s most famous woman aviator, left Oakland Airport on a solo flight around the world. She was never seen again.
13. The Mormon Temple atop Lincoln Avenue is one of the most visible structures in the region. A majestic, multi-spiraled complex on the East Oakland hillside, with a line of huge palms providing a frame, the temple has no windows, adhering to Mormon practice.