Black migrants quickly made Oakland their home. Post-war organizing for human rights led toslow but steady progress in de-segregating the public and private spheres of life and labor. Even thoughhousing segregation remained a serious inequity (indeed to this day), the advent of masshomeownership, and small business entrepreneurship, among Oakland's Black population marked progress over previous eras of racist disaccumulation.One of the institutions most difficult to de-segregate was the city of Oakland's public safetyapparatus, however. During World War II, and the immediate postwar decades, the city's police and fireemployees were virtually all white.
A de-facto policy which banned Blacks from working for government in any but the most menial roles existed well into the 1960s. Of the OPD's 617 officers in1966, only 16 were Black, and these very junior officers were mostly consigned to duty in WestOakland.
According to a survey of Oakland police officers conducted in 1980, only six percent of theforce was Black. The overwhelming majority, 83 percent of officers, were white, and while almost athird of officers had been with the department for ten years or more, black officers had a less lengthyaverage tenure.
One of the many inequitable results of this racist exclusion from municipal employment wasthat the vested membership of the city's pension systems, principally PFRS, became a homogenous population of white men. Non-white workers, and by extension their families and communities, wouldnever receive proportionate benefits of this unique social insurance available to Oakland employees.This inequitable arrangement was made all the more damaging to Black city employees due to the factthat in post-WWII America, police and fire jobs have been among the highest paying public jobs, and
Figure 1: Oakland's racial composition between 1940 and 2010. Approximately 200,000 whitesleft the city between 1950 and 1980 while over 100,000 Blacks arrived. *In the 1980s Latinoimmigration from Mexico and Central America increased alongside the existing and significantlylarge Chinese, Korean, Cambodian, and Vietnamese communties..