Charles Porter, 68, has lived his most of his life in the Golden Gate district of Oakland.
Porter grew up in a two-story Victorian at San Pablo Avenue and 63rd Street that his parents purchased for $7,500 in 1949. He spent much of his youth at the Golden Gate rec center and the public library, playing games and reading books. He remembers San Pablo Avenue during the 1950s and 60s as a a commercial corridor—department stores, grocers, barber shops, car mechanics, five and dime stores, donut shops, even a movie theater. Back then, Porter remembers, it was one of the first Oakland neighborhoods to open up for African Americans.
Over the past 60 years, he has watched the neighborhood go through a number of changes, and seen the community change with it. For Porter, the changes are just part of the natural life cycle of the neighborhood.