Category Archives: Fruitvale

1001 Black Men #773



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


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

Why draw this brother? 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. At that time, my hair was straightened to within inches of its life, but I admired Dr. Jackson’s afro. At a school in at African Americans made up of only one percent of the student body, his sculpted coif felt outrageous, audacious, and unapologetic, and I loved it!

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #730



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