Tarea Hall Pittman (circa 1945-1960) 1Tarea Hall Pittman (January 30, 1903 - July 31, 1991) was a civil rights leader who fought to abolish segregation in the Oakland Fire Department; was President of the CSACWC; organized branches of the National Negro Congress; for 45 years hosted the radio program Negroes in the News on KDIA radio station in Oakland; worked to abolish housing covenants; served in various important positions with the NAACP including regional secretary and regional director; fought to force war industries to hire Black workers during World War II; and was a lobbyist for passage of Fair Employment legislation in California and other states. Her husband William R. Pittman was the first Black dentist in Berkeley.

Tarea Hall was born to William Hall and Susie Pinkney (Hall) in Bakersfield in 1903. She had 5 siblings: Eugenia Elza Hall (Greene), Marcus William Hall (who was a baritone singer of note 7), Clarice Louise Hall (Isaacs), Faricita Hall (Wyatt), and June Etta Hall (Saunders).

She attended Bakersfield Junior College. In 1923 she enrolled at UC Berkeley, but wasn't allowed to live in campus housing. She used her connections to find housing; through these same connections she met William Pittman who was a dental student. They married in 1927. She later returned to college and got an A.B. from San Francisco State in 1939. 3 Another source says she got a masters in social welfare from UC Berkeley. 4

They lived at 2930 Grove St. (now Martin Luther King, Jr. Way) in Berkeley.

Pittman continued her radio program into the late 1970s.

Death and Legacy

Pittman died July 31, 1991 from a brain tumor. A memorial service was held at Fouche's Funeral HomeLawrence Crouchett called her "the mother of the civil rights movement in California." 5

In 2015, after a receiving a community petition of more than a thousand signatures, the Berkeley library board voted to rename the South Branch Berkeley Library after Tarea Hall Pittman. They had originally voted 3-2 against renaming it. 6

Links and References

1963 2

  1. Image(s) used by permission of the UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library

  2. BANC MSS 78/180 c UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library

  3. Tarea Hall Pittman BlackPast.org
  4. Mrs. Pittman Appointed to NAACP Post Oakland Tribune September 18, 1961
  5. 'Mother' of state's civil rights fight Tarea Pittman dies at 88 Oakland Tribune August 2, 1991
  6. Berkeley library board reverses course, recommends renaming branch after late civil rights activist Oakland Tribune May 8, 2015
  7. Baritone Hall died at 72 Berkeley Gazette March 12, 1977