Born and raised in Oakland, Maybelle Craig Broussard will celebrate her 100th birthday on March 31.
She and her brother George were raised in West Oakland. They were among the few African Americans who attended Cole Elementary School because there were few Black families who lived in the area.
Her father Berry Craig, a former slave, was a self-educated man who taught her the few Spanish words she knew as a child and fostered her interest in languages.
Her aunt Dr. Nettie Craig Ashberry was a civil rights activist who founded the Tacoma, Washington Chapter of the NAACP and many other Pacific Northwest chapters.
Mabel Bohannon Craig, Maybelle Craig Broussard’s mother, was a graduate of Wilberforce College in Ohio, and taught home economics at Prairie View College in Texas.
Craig Broussard was one of a handful of African American students admitted to the UC Berkeley. With the assistance of a scholarship from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, she graduated from the university in 1936, in the same class of the late Oakland Mayor Lionel Wilson.
She earned a B.A. degree in Spanish and a minor in social studies, at a time when few women of color and only 10 percent of Americans attended college. But only job she could get was in Sacramento working for the state as a junior clerk, earning $70 per month.
In 1940, she married Texas native Ernest Broussard. When they married, he was a cook on the railroad, making $65 per month.
Later, he began working at the Post Office as a mail carrier. Before his death in 1971, he was promoted to supervisor at Oakland’s main post office.
Thirty years after graduating from UC Berkeley, she returned to college to earn a teaching credential in Spanish with minors in French and social studies at California State University Hayward.
She then worked for the State of California as a bilingual employment counselor and later for the Oakland Unified School District, teaching English as a Second Language (ESL)
Craig Broussard and her husband had three children. The family moved to East Oakland in 1950. She now has four grandchildren and four great grandchildren