The Liberty Hall-Marcus Garvey Building is a Historical National Archive Building that currently houses OWH Studios Inc., Healthy Communities Inc., the Bay Area Black Nurses Association.
Over 100 Years of Service
The historic Liberty Hall was built in 1877 as a store and residence. Since then, it has been serving the West Oakland community for over 100 years under a variety of non-profit organizations. In 1920, Marcus Garvey and the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) Local 188 – the African-American fraternal organization he founded – purchased Liberty Hall. A fire burned the building’s roof in 1931 and two years later, UNIA #188 sold the building following a decrease in the organization’s activism. Since then, the building was also home to the Oakland chapter of the International Peace Mission movement, the Black Pullman Porters, Father Divine and Jubilee West, the Black Panther Breakfast Program, and it was the site of the first Dollar Store in West Oakland.
Featuring unique architectural highlights, the building was designed in the Italianate style and features projecting bay windows at its northwest and southwest corners, a bracketed cornice, a frieze with dentils and crown moldings, and a Mansard roof. Due to its historic nature, in 1989, Liberty Hall was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
“History is the land-mark by which we are directed into the true course of life.” – Marcus Garvey
Although the original partners and programming no longer reside at Liberty Hall, it is in the same spirit of Marcus Garvey that Liberty Hall occupants continue to provide social-change programming to the West Oakland community with the goal to support the community growth and sustainability. As OWH Studios founder Bishop J. E. Watkins states, “We are proud to have successfully mobilized and empowered hundreds of youth and young adults annually to create their visions through the media arts and helped shape their career options. We are excited for what this landmark has brought to bear on the community.”