Category Archives: Fruitvale

1001 Black Men #773

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Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Fruitvale Ave., Oakland, CA.

Why draw this brotha? Because it was one of the hottest days of the year, and his unbuttoned short-sleeve shirt with a t-shirt underneath reminded me of the elderly Black men I used to see during childhood visits to Darlington, South Carolina. My grandmother lived on the Black side of town where, for many folks, the only way to get a little relief from the heat was to sit out on the front porch. These were men for whom proper dress and comportment was more important than comfort–and a gentleman always wore a t-shirt under his shirt, no matter what the weather.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #769

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Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Fruitvale, Ave., Oakland, CA.

Why draw this brotha? Because his haircut reminded me of Dr. Jackson, a science instructor at my high school and the only African American person on the entire faculty. Even though, at that time, my hair was straightened to within inches of its life, I admired the way Dr. Jackson wore his own afro. At a school in which exactly 5 of us in a graduating class of 400 had the tightly-curled hair of our African Ancestors, his sculpted coif felt outrageous, audacious, and unapologetic, and I loved it!

Ajuan Mance

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #730

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I love those moments when someone is so involved in their own thoughts that they seem to be completely unaware of their surroundings. This guy was standing on a corner behind the Farmer’s Joe’s market on Fruitvale, grimacing and staring out into a generally uninhabited area near the BART tracks. I think he may have been looking for someone; or perhaps he lost his car keys, but really far away from the parking lot.

Ajuan Mance