“I could speak on the Falcon boys for one, as a car club that originated in 1979 in Oakland, on 96th and Birch Street, East Oakland. And that was the first car that was customized for the African Americans. After the Falcons came the Mustangs, Cougars, like Granadas, you know, Mavericks. But yeah, that’s just something that we really have a trademark on, these cars, and hopefully we’re going to keep that going and growing, you know.”
What is your full name and age?
David Maurice Johnson. 52 Years old.
What neighborhood of Oakland are you from and would you say that you associate growing up with?
North Oakland. I grew up on 62nd and Herzog then I moved here like, I think I was like 10 years old or something like that. Yeah. And I’ve been here every since. You know, it’s my mom’s property now, so always been north Oakland then I escalated to East Oakland, but I hung around West Oakland a lot also. So like all around, you know.
How many generations of your family have been in Oakland?
Since my great grandparents.They came from Louisiana and it escalated from there. Yeah.
Do you know what their reason was that they decided to come from Louisiana to California?
Um, no, not really, probably for a better life. Better living? Yeah.
What was it like growing up in this neighborhood? What are some memories that really stand out to you?
Mosswood Park. My neighbors, grandparents had a cleaners, Earl’s Cleaners. We would go hang out down there, you know? We had miniature golf, dirt bike tracks, you bmx. Stuff like that, I miss all that stuff. It’s just memories, you know, from friends on up. Skating rinks, you know, just the parks, summer programs, just a lot of memories, man. I don’t know man. It’s a trip. You just, you had to be there to experience it.
What does it mean to you to be an Oakland native? Born and raised here.
I love being in Oakland. It’s beautiful. It’s a beautiful city. I’ve been to other places and you know, it’s nothing like Oakland. Oakland has its own category, you know, I just enjoy being in Oakland and the people, you know, it’s nice. I love it.
What do you wish people knew about Oakland before they moved here? Or what would you tell new neighbors that move here are guidelines to being a good Oaklander or a member of the local community?
Yeah, I’d just tell him that, you know, like I said, it’s a nice neighborhood especially Temescal or Rockridge. It’s a lot of neat things out here, you know, a lot of stuff to do around here.Plus it’s growing, the neighborhood is growing, especially on the Main Street Telegraph, So I’d tell them, you know, you’ll like being around here.
What do you think is the reason why everybody wants to move here now?
That I don’t know. Well, one thing I can say is especially in the West Oakland, a lot of places around are near Bart. A lot of jobs are popping up around here and it’s, convenient to get to work from Oakland, especially Kaiser. You know what I mean? So, yeah, that’s pretty much what I can say about that.
What do you not like about some of the current changes that are going on?
Some things like, especially people, in certain areas of Oakland, they don’t pay attention to like, what they call the hood. They don’t pay attention to the old school cars. You know we have bikes, cars, especially during First Friday. You know, I mean, I think it was a good thing. People from all over the world used to admire the cars and stuff like that. I don’t know how they started cutting all that stuff out and I don’t see why, they starting to close a lot of schools. You know, things like that. I don’t understand why, you know.
Can you talk a little bit about the history of Oakland car culture and how that started?
I could speak on the Falcon boys for one, as a car club that originated in 1979 in Oakland, on 96th and Birch Street, East Oakland. And that was the first car that was customized for the African Americans. After the Falcons came the Mustangs, Cougars, like Granadas, you know, Mavericks. But yeah, that’s just something that we really have a trademark on these cars and hopefully we’re going to keep that going and growing, you know.
What is the Oakland style of car as to how you grew up?
You know, the customized wheels, wires and vogue tires. Now they started having a muscle cars, you know, the big wheels for some cars. It’s just, Oakland is known for having flashy cars, period, you know, no matter what it is.
How did the movement around the Falcon boys and customized Falcons start?
Well, what I heard guys who just hanging and you know, we used to ride the bus or AC transit, and some guys were just tired of riding the bus. So they decided to buy a car and the one guy just happened to buy, I believe it was either Adam Bluford or Darryl, which they call him Lil D, they bought a falcon just for transportation. They didn’t think nothing of it. And they went to the Cadillac’s that were out. And Cadillac came out with this two tone paint job and they decided to two tone the cars and put wire wheels and they started calling them baby Seville’s. And so it just escalated from there, you know? I mean, I couldn’t believe it. I used to see the cars. I used to be a kid, you know, and I always wanted to falcon. I wanted to get me a falcon. I’m 15 years old. Me and my cousin Tim Scott, you know, he never got one but I got me one as you can see. Now my son has one, you know, so we just keeping the trend going. I’m like a third generation and Lil Dave is the fourth generation, you know.
And you are a fifth generation Oaklander?
What are some of the good things that you feel like are changing in Oakland right now?
Property, you know, the houses, you know, they started to fix the Oakland up, you know, even though it’s a lot of housing now, but still it’s looking good now a days, because Oakland was looking, ran down for awhile, they start to put a little into it.Even West Oakland, they started work on the East Oakland, so I liked that. You know, it just don’t look dingy like it used to, you know.
What are your hopes and aspirations for the city and community of Oakland moving forward?
Well, I’m just for one man, I want to see people get out of these tents, man. You know, that’s the part I don’t like, but I deal with it. I went to city to give us jobs, and give them jobs, I feed the homeless, I do a lot of stuff, you know. But I just want the mayor, to kick in and, you know, help give these people housing. It makes them feel good about it. They accepted it. It makes me feel good to get up and take a shower every day, you know? And I know these people who appreciate something like that. Just pay attention to not just the good part of Oakland or the bad part, you know, just make Oakland like, it used to be years ago, man. And you know, I think it’ll happened, you know, they got the drugs out the way they started to work on the violence. So, you know, I think Oakland is going to be beautiful again, man. Straight up.