Oak Park Speaker Series: About


About Oak Park Speaker Series


The Oak Park Speakers Series (OPSS), in partnership with St. HOPE’s Underground Books and the Greater Sacramento Urban League, is a 4-part lecture series featuring some of the most prominent African American leaders in the nation. The OPSS draws a full venue capacity of more than 200 business, civic, political and community leaders.

The Oak Park Speaker Series is proud to present Roland Martin, Byron Pitts, Terry McMillan and Carla Harris as the 2018 Speakers. 

History and Context:  

As Sacramento’s first African-American mayor, Kevin Johnson convened a meeting in 2011 with eight African American leaders from throughout Sacramento (called “Indivizible”) with a simple goal of focusing the power and potential of African Americans around a shared agenda of education, economics and politics. Over the next five years, Indivizible grew to nearly 1,000 active members. Open to the general public, the meetings transitioned into a monthly speaker series that concluded at the end of 2016 with the end of Mr. Johnson’s final term, and will return as the OPSS series in February 2018. Previous speakers at the series have included:  Jesse Jackson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Terry McMillan, Elaine Brown, and Sinbad, to name but a few.

Underground Books is Sacramento’s only bookstore focusing on African-American authors and culture, and as of the end of January 2016 was one of only 67 remaining African-American owned bookstores in the country. Underground Books has also been managed the last ten years by Georgia “Mother Rose” West, a born and raised Sacramentan and still remains a resident of Oak Park.

St. HOPE and the Greater Sacramento Urban League understand the profound impact the decline in African-American bookstores nationwide is having on education and the preservation of history and culture within underserved communities.  By promoting literacy, history, and culture within the community, Underground Books is providing a place to celebrate and investigate black heritage.

Location and Format:  

OPSS is held at the Guild Theater, a historic 200-seat restored venue, which serves as the centerpiece of “40 acres,” a 20,000 square foot St. HOPE restored retail and housing development project in the heart of Oak Park.  The format is a one-hour “fireside chat” interview and Q&A with the audience, and concludes with a book signing at Underground Books, next door to the Guild Theater.