New Orleans to the SF Bay Area

Editor’s note: Slavery is an integral part of the American story and those who were forced to come to the US in chains, are no less immigrants than any other group. Not only was their freedom taken, but in many cases, their personal family history was lost. On this web site of immigration stories, we pick up their descendants’ story starting wherever the family can trace it.

photo by: Paul Sullivan

My mother, Keon Anderson, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. When I was just five years, my mother, my brother who was just 9 years old, and myself moved from New Orleans to San Francisco. I remembered that my mother fried some chicken and then we traveled by Greyhound bus. It took 3 full days to travel from New Orleans, LA to SF in California, but it took one day to travel through Texas. It was not my decision to move but my mother’s decision because it was her dream to come to San Francisco. It was known as the city by the the bay. The travel experience itself was smooth and comfortable and soon we reached the state of California and the city of San Francisco.

When my family got to this new area, it took some time for myself to adjust because it was a new environment, new school, new friends, new everything. We moved to the inner part of the city of San Francisco. At school I met some other kids who became my friends. Their names were Berna, Nicky, Shwante, and Kanie. I remember my experience at school being fun, except for being made fun of because of my southern accent, but I forgave the people who did that. My mother’s first job in the Bay Area was an internship at Children’s Hospital in Oakland. Then she became an assistant to the nurse and helped them take care of the patients. What she misses a lot from New Orleans was this festival called Mardigra and our family because that time would also be a family time. Fifteen years after we moved to San Francisco, we moved to Oakland. But every two years we go and visit the family in New Orleans by plane.

This story was written by Keon’s son, Dion Lambert, a student at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, CA.

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