Liberty Hall has a significant history of service in theÂ OaklandÂ community and has been used by African-American organizations for more than 100 years.
Built in 1877 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, the 6,500 sq. ft. center holds many distinctions, including being the first dollar store inÂ West Oakland.
The three nonprofits–Healthy Communities, Overcomers With Hope, and Bay Area Black Nurses Association–will call Liberty Hall their new home and hope to keep the legacy of service and communal collaboration alive in the African-American community ofÂ West OaklandÂ and the city as a whole.
TheÂ Marcus Garvey-led United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), an African-American fraternal organization promoting financial empowerment for African-American people worldwide, purchased the building as itsÂ OaklandÂ headquarters in 1925. The building was renamed Liberty Hall, the name used by all of the organization’s meeting halls. The UNIA utilized Liberty Hall for meetings, activities and holidays such asÂ Lincoln’sÂ Birthday andÂ Garvey Day. In 1931, a fire damaged the building’s roof, and the UNIA’s activism inÂ OaklandÂ declined afterward. The UNIA sold the building in 1933.
After the UNIA left the building, one ofÂ Oakland’sÂ chapters of the International Peace Mission took over the building. Led by African-American minister Father Divine ofÂ New York, the International Peace Mission expanded Garvey’s legacy of promoting private enterprise for Blacks by exampling peaceful interracial relations. The church was also well-known for hosting free banquets at Liberty Hall during the Great Depression. The Peace Mission continued to operate in the building until the 1950s.
Bay Property Group, a full service real estate company in the Bay Area, represented the buyers of the national historic landmark Liberty Hall inÂ West Oakland. Bay Property Group in collaboration with Nor-Cal Financial Development Corporation, Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, and a local private investor created the financial structure that enabled three community-based nonprofits to purchase this historic landmark. Â Financing was provided byÂ Rick CulpÂ of Pacific Private Money Loans.
The organizations represented in the transaction by Bay Property Group that will call Liberty Hall their new home include:
– Healthy Communities (also known as Healthy Oakland), a faith-based health services provider inÂ West OaklandÂ serving a cross-section of the community and their health needs.
– Overcomers With Hope (OWH Studios), a faith-based media training center that provides technical training to the community’s youth via access to their broadcast quality television studio.
– Bay Area Black Nurses Association (BABNA), a professional organization of nurses and nursing students working to improve the quality of life by providing health education, training and mentoring to the African-American community and other ethnic groups.
“OaklandÂ is an amazing city rich in community, culture and history,” saidÂ Kevin SkipperÂ of Bay Property Group, who represented the buyers in the transaction. “Working in this truly collaborative community effort has been an enriching and humbling experience. There is hope forÂ OaklandÂ because this process can be replicated.”