Day 116 – Piedmont’s First Black Homeowner

Today my Google homepage suggested a story about the history of the City of Piedmont, and of course I clicked on it, because Google is on to me.  They know my search history.

The actual article I clicked on was informative and interesting, but one of the comments really got my attention:

Interesting article. It would be great during black history month (article was from January) to address some more in-depth lengths of Piedmont’s redlining, KKK police chief in 1929 and Sidney Dearing who was our city’s first black resident who went through hell living here.

So of course I looked him up and found out that Sidney Dearing’s house was at 67 Wildwood Avenue, so I walked to it tonight:

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Sidney Dearing’s house at 67 Wildwood in Piedmont was bombed three times. Burton Becker, whose Klan title was Kailiff (vice president), served as the police chief of the city of Piedmont before being elected sheriff of Alameda County in 1926 and later sent to San Quentin.  Sidney’s mother in law bought the house for $10,000 and he asked the city to buy it back from him for $25,000 and the city of Piedmont eventually did.  In the end, the house was never demolished and a nearby walkway between the block ( a few houses down) remains as a reminder of this block’s segregated history.

I found the walkway and walked through it for the first time. I thought I knew all the secret walkways and stairs in Piedmont, but I missed this one.

Racism is a sickness.

Thursday, July 9, 2020:

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