Temescal Roots Project
Donate | Call for Artists | Press Release | Sponsor Opportunities
The “Temescal Roots Project” has brought together local experts, historians, and legacy community members to discuss the presence and impact of the Black Panther Party in Temescal. Through a series of three community conversations, we've explored ways to honor this rich history to collectively brainstorm a new design concept to be built in the plaza outside the Original Kasper’s Hot Dogs. Now, we are seeking an artist or team to develop an integrated public art installation that will not only celebrate history but bring it to life front and center.
A New Vision for Kasper's Plaza
The historical Kasper’s Hot Dogs building - scheduled to reopen early 2023 after being closed for nearly 20 years - sits on a triangular pedestrian plaza at the intersection of Telegraph, Shattuck, and 45th Street in Temescal.
The Telegraph Temescal Business Improvement District (TTBID) is partnering with local creative agency Made in Color (MIC) to invite the community and artists to co-create a new art installation in the heart of the Temescal District, honoring the legacy of the Black Panther Party in Temescal, supported by the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation (DHPN).
Through three separate community conversations scheduled for September, October, and November 2022, the project organizers will seek input from local stakeholders and artists for a permanent community art installation that pays tribute to the Black Panther Party and North Oakland’s resilient Black community at large.
The history of the original Kasper’s Hot Dogs
The original Kasper's Hot Dogs opened in Oakland in the early 1930s. Harry Yaglijian, longtime owner of Kasper’s, has had a long list of legendary regulars, ranging from Ron Dellums to Metallica. Also on this list were many of the founding members of the Black Panther Party, including co-founder Dr. Huey P. Newton, who was raised just blocks away and was a frequent customer of the original Kasper’s throughout his life.
“It’s the only hot dog restaurant in the country that has its own city block,” new Kasper’s owner Emil Peinert told SFGATE. “You feel the generations that had been there before.”
The restaurant is being remodeled and is scheduled to reopen later this year.
Black Panther Party History in Temescal
While the Black Panther Party’s origin story is firmly planted in Oakland, the Party’s roots in Temescal are lesser known. TTBID is working with The Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation - which preserves the history, ideals, and legacy of the Black Panther Party and its founder Dr. Huey P. Newton - to uplift this history with the “Temescal Roots Project.”
Temescal is not only where Huey P. Newton was raised, but where he graduated from high school (Oakland Tech) and would later establish the first Black Panther Party headquarters.
The Black Panther Party, founded in Oakland in the 1960s as an organized self-defense response to protect Black people from police brutality, has had a far-reaching impact seen in many facets of contemporary politics and culture - from coalition politics and movement organizing to the Hollywood big screen with “Judas and The Black Messiah” and Marvel’s “Black Panther.”
The Black Panther Party’s community efforts in Oakland and around the country - ranging from free meals for school kids to access to healthcare for Black people - embody the party’s 10-Point Program, a series of principles ranging from decarceration to universal healthcare for Black people that remain as timely today as when they were first created.
Today, the Temescal District attracts people from all over the world to its vibrant neighborhood with innovative small businesses, diverse restaurants, and a buzzing arts and culture scene. The energy and presence of the Black Panther Party still hum within the vibrant murals, the strong Ethiopian and Eritrean communities, and the organizing power of the local community. This is not only about maintaining their legacy but bringing it to life front and center.