MARIN CITY, Calif. -- Located 5 miles north of San Francisco from the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin City was built in 1942 and became home to thousands of Black Americans working at Marinship, Sausalito's waterfront shipyard, during World War 2.
In 2022, Marin City celebrated its 80 year anniversary and to honor the city's legacy, The Marin City Historical and Preservation Society launched the "Marin City 80" project.
"It's a California Black history story," said Felecia Gaston, the executive director of Performing Stars of Marin. "This project traces how people came from the South, how they lived, to highlight the tenacity and the determination of the Blacks here in Marin City over 80 years."
For over 30 years, Gaston has been collecting archives, artifacts, and oral histories about Marin City. Her historic gatherings are displayed in Marin City 80's three exhibits, which share the stories of eight generations of Black families.
One of the exhibits traces the Black American journey to Marin City, California from the South and Midwest. Visitors can see various luggage items and one-way tickets from the travelers in 1942.
"This suitcase is super, super special to me, because I had a chance to meet Mrs. Annie Small when I first came to work in Marin City," recalled Gaston. "She came to work here in 1942, she said the train was so crowded that she had to sit on a suitcase all the way from Shreveport, Louisiana to California."
Gaston added, "If she was here today, she would be proud because she was like, 'Tell my story, baby, tell our story because people need to know what we went through.'"
The second and third exhibits focus on housing discrimination from 1942-1962, as well as the design process for the Marin City projects.
"We have the original sketches, we have the designs, we have the floor plans," explained Gaston.
The 'Marin City 80' exhibits are open and free to the public from now until November 1, 2022 at the Bartolini Gallery inside The Marin Center in San Rafael, California.
For more information, visit here.