Members of the community are working to name the South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library Named for Tarea Hall Pittman.
Tarea Hall Pittman, born in 1903, was one of the first Bay Area Civil Rights leaders
who became nationally known. For many years, she helped to provide equal opportunities for minority citizens.
She was the daughter of a pioneer Black family that came to Bakersfield, California by covered wagon in 1895 and soon formed the first Bakersfield NAACP Branch.
In 1923, she enrolled in the University of California where she could not stay in campus
housing. She used networking skills to find housing for other segregated African American students.
She met and married William Pittman, a fellow student who became a dentist.
For more than 42 years, Pittman broadcast “Negroes In The News,” which publicized positive achievements of African Americans and made her nationally known.
Her Sunday morning broadcasts, listened to by hundreds of families, covered
nearly everything about Blacks in the United States.
She helped create the Negro Education Council that funded the broadcasts from which she never received pay.
Over the years, Pittman led numerous protests against various shipyards including Kaiser, which was forced to hire African Americans during the early 1940s.
She worked hard to pass fair employment laws and lobbied for the California Fair Employment Practice (FEP), with was signed into law in 1959 by Governor Edmund “Pat” Brown.
She served as director of the NAACP Western Region and helped to get FEP laws passed in Arizona, Alaska and Nevada.
Pittman died in July 1991.