Sidney Allan (Algenon) Dearing (March 8, 1870 – October 6, 1953) was born in Fredericksburg, Texas. He married Irène F. Davis (Davies) from Canada November 30, 1920 in Oakland. He was 45 years old the day of his second marriage after being a widow from his first and had at least three children. He became the proprietor of the Creole Café until it was closed by the federal authorities due to alcohol being served.
From the book "No There There: Race, Class, and Political Community in Oakland" By Chris Rhomberg, pp 55:
In Piedmont, a wealthy suburban enclave in the Oakland hills, police refused to provide protection for Sidney Dearing, the only black homeowner in town. When Dearing chose not to move, the city began condemnation proceedings against his property in order to force him out.
Multiple bombs were found at, and near Dearing's home, one on the property of L. W. VanDyke, "leader of the. movement to oust the negro." The bombs were assembled with dynamite sourced from the Bates and Borland quarry. (Now the Zion Lutheran Church, on Park Boulevard.) He fought condemnation proceedings.4
Oakland Tribune Jun 7, 1924, Sidney Dearing's house at 67 Wildwood in Piedmont was bombed three times. Burton Becker, whose Klan title was Kailiff (vice president), served as the police chief of the city of Piedmont before being elected sheriff of Alameda County in 1926 and later sent to San Quentin.
His mother in law bought the house for $10,000 and he asked the city to buy it back from him for $25,000—and the city of Piedmont eventually did. In the end the two houses in the way were never demolished and a nearby walkway between the block (a few houses down) remains as a reminder of this block’s segregated history. More info here.
In 2022, the city of Piedmont began exploring ways to memorialize the Dearing family, including naming a city park in their memory. 1
Links and References
- Sidney Dearing, first Black man in Piedmont sidneydearing.com
- City seeks to memorialize the Sidney Dearing family Piedmont Exedra May 17, 2022
- Race War Now Threatens Fashionable California City Ogden Standard-Examiner May 25, 1924
- Police Guard Houses in Piedmont Bomb Mystery Oakland Tribune June 4, 1924
- Club Files Suit to Acquire Home Of Negro as Site For City Library Oakland Tribune Jun 6, 1924