Fannie Wall Children’s Home and Day Nursery was a charitable orphanage and daycare center constructed for Black children established on November 20, 1918. The goal of the organization was to “care for homeless, dependent, neglected children from broken homes, and to provide day care for children of working parents.” 1
Established by the Northern Federation of California Colored Women’s Clubs which opened the Fannie Wall Children’s Home and Day Nursery at 1215 Peralta Street in West Oakland. The Home operated at that location from 1918 to 1928 and was the only day nursery and orphanage in Oakland that was open to African-American children during the first half of the twentieth century.
The ladies sponsoring the Fannie Wall institution on Peralta Street by 1928 had raised money to purchase a second location in a house at 815 Linden Street across from the Linden Street YWCA, known as the "Colored Y," which was on the same block as the St. Vincent's Day Home (another day nursery for poor working women which was racially segregated). The Home operated at this second location until 1962 where it could accommodate up to 20 children in residence, and between 8 to 15 children for their day care services. There was a professional staff of 10 or more that included a volunteer psychiatrist and socials workers. The Linden Street home was designed by Charles Mau. 3
The Fannie Wall mortgage burning ceremony was held in 1948, at 647 - 55th Street. 2
Funding for the Home came from a wide variety of sources such as rent from an apartment in Berkeley donated by Josephine Sutton, Community Chest, the Dreiser Trust, and through various fundraising events coordinated by the Home. In 1962 the Oakland Redevelopment Agency purchased the property at 815 Linden St. in order to demolish the building for the Acorn Project.
The Home was then moved to the current location at 647 55th Street. Initially there was a struggle to obtain a license to operate from the Social Welfare Department, and the Home did not reopened until 1967 as part of a placement program for the Alameda County Welfare Department. In 1970 the Home was forced to close again for remodeling, but finally reopened in 1978 as a Head Start Center and child daycare facility.
Links and References
- African American Museum and Library at Oakland
The Pullman Porters and West Oakland by Thomas Tramble, Wilma Tramble
A City for Children: Women, Architecture, and the Charitable Landscapes of Oakland by Marta Gutman