Category Archives: Cafe

1001 Black Men #719



My second sketch in that meeting was of a guy I remember from a recent trip to–that’s right–the Zocalo Coffeehouse in San Leandro. After changing owners and then closing for remodeling, it’s baaaaack! I’ve missed Zocalo and, at the risk of sounding overly sentimental, going back to my favorite cafe was like seeing an old friend after a long period apart.

Welcome back, Zocalo. It wasn’t the same without you.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #680


This gentleman and I have a lot in common. Like me, he can fall asleep just about anywhere, apparently with little prompting. I spotted him at the Starbucks at the East Bay Bridge Center shops. I’d stopped in for a trenta-sized iced tea. This particular Starbucks is one of the busiest coffee houses in the area, and it might seem to be a terrible place for a nap; but for those of us who can sleep through just about anything, the bustle and chatter make for the perfect white noise lullaby.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men–#651



This chatty guy was in a remarkably good mood today. We crossed paths waiting on line at the Starbucks on Webster St. in Alameda. The after-school line is always long at this particular cafe, and I generally use the time to either chat with my niece (if she’s with me) or browse the day’s news on my various media apps. Not so today. This guy told me all about his favorite pastries, his favorite coffee drinks, and the reason he believes that this particular Starbucks has the best baristas in the city. I was sorta kinda listening, and sorta kinda wondering if he was actually going to talk to me until we got up to the counter.

Ajuan Mance


1001 Black Men–#650


This is one of several older Black men who were gathered together at the Starbucks on MacArthur, in San Leandro. Based on their familiarity with the staff and some of the other regular customers, I’m guessing that this must be a regularly scheduled meetup. While they were chatting and laughing over coffee and snacks, I was working on a particularly tedious part of my current research project; but, rather than distract me, the upbeat mood at their table lifted my spirits.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men–#649



World Ground, MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, California.

Observation: Dreadlocks are kind of like the rings on a tree. You can see a lot of the history of a person’s relationship to their hair in the color and texture of them. For example, if a brotha’s locks are reddish on tips, black for 12 inches or so, and then gray at the roots, then he was probably dyeing his hair when started them. Then, along with his natural hairstyle, he also went back to his natural color, which began to shift from black to gray as the years wore on. If his dreadlocks are gray (or white) all the way from the roots to the tips, then his hair must have been gray for a pretty long time.

Ajuan Mance