Listen to Lucille’s interview!
Ms. Lucille Jackson, the youngest of ten siblings, hails from Muskogee, Oklahoma and arrived in the East Bay 58 years ago. Her family first lived in the Alameda projects, and when their church moved to Oakland, they followed. Residing in parts of East Oakland from then on, Ms. Jackson lived on 68th Avenue (deep East) for six years, then on 38th Avenue (Fruitvale district), and she has lived in Maxwell Park since 1974. She worked for the telephone company for thirty-six years and retired in 1998.
Ms. Jackson’s four children refer to her as an activist. She says she took after her grandfather, who helped blacks in Oklahoma vote in 1939. Today, Ms. Lucille volunteers at a senior center in East Oakland three days a week and is the leader of a “healthy living” class. She loves her Maxwell Park neighborhood especially because it is centralized and surrounded by all she has ever needed. She feels as though she is in the middle of everything and is very happy to be in her community, and she wants to stay put.
Ms. Jackson says she is just now really learning the meaning of the word gentrification. For her, it signifies “moving people out that really don’t want to move and don’t have much choice.” Although the term is new for her, her experience with gentrification is not. She remembers when a realtor would frequently come to her home to ask her to sell her house. This woman came about five Saturdays until Lucille told her, “Why should I move? When I move from this place, the undertaker will be taking me. Do you understand now that I’m not moving?” That was the last time she heard from the woman.
Ms. Jackson shares pictures of herself Martin Luther King Jr. rally, of her “healthy living” class, her friends, her siblings, and her children. “Oakland—it has so much to offer,” she says. “I really wouldn’t want to leave it for no other reason.”