Oakland Images: Houdini, Earhart, Seale

Today we were rummaging through the Oakland Museum of California’s online attic, and just had to share a few memorable faces discovered in their Oakland Tribune collection.  What an eclectic group!

Let’s start with Harry Houdini (1923), a grand magician who appeared in Oakland.  Houdini honed his famous straightjacket escape and routine for years, and successfully dangled from newspaper buildings all over the country.  Of course, the Tribune Tower performance fit with his famous shtick.

Harry Houdini

Then we’ll move to Amelia Earhart (1937), whom Oaklanders have adopted as their own.  American schoolchildren all learn about Earhart, the aviator who attempted to circle the globe from Oakland.  Here is the photo staged for the first attempt in March, which was grounded in Hawaii.  The second and fatal attempt also began from Oakland, via Miami, but no photos were taken.

Amelia Earhart

Finally, we take a look at Bobby Seale (circa 1966).  Oakland’s role in the civil rights movement is indisputable, with Huey Newton and Bobby Seale’s founding of the Black Panthers.  This image is interesting, since it shows Seale overseeing grocery donations right here.  Fast forward, and Seale still focuses on community activism and educational priorities nationally.

Bobby Seale

You may be wondering why we grouped such disparate characters together.  Well, we loved the images and how they put an Oakland twist on notable people from all walks of life – a world-renowned escape artist, star-crossed aviator, and 1960s leader are recorded for posterity in this Tribune slideshow.  Oakland’s got a storied past.

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