Jan Batiste Adkins

Jan Batiste Adkins, educator and lecturer, was born in Pullman, Washington, and grew up in Portland, Oregon. She is the author of African Americans of San Francisco, African Americans of Monterey County, and African Americans of San Jose and Santa Clara County, all published by Arcadia Publishing. Each of these books are a pictorial historical account of the leaders of Bay Area African American communities since the 1780s to present. Jan holds a master’s degree in Education and a master’s degree in comparative literature from San Jose State University. For the last twenty-five years, Jan Batiste Adkins has taught English throughout California high schools and community colleges.

Writing in the genres of historical nonfiction and poetry have been a hobby of Jan’s since the early 1980s. Over the last few years, Jan has developed a passion for literary research as evidenced in the content of her Master’s Thesis Literary Prose and Poetry in San Francisco’s Black Newspapers, 1862-1885 completed in 2009.

Her books explore the early African American settlers in San Francisco, Monterey, and San Jose and Santa Clara County, and the development of these communities during the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Each book has over 150 photographs depicting life in the black communities of these Bay Area cities and counties. The contributions of black residents from before the gold rush to present are highlighted as well the the evolution of a sense of community.

Jan Batiste Adkins, an educator and lecturer, has spent the last five years researching and documenting the history of San Francisco’s African American pioneers. Her master’s thesis from San Jose State University documented the history of the African American community as reflected in black newspapers of the 1850s through the 1890s. This book is an expansion of that project, for which she has consulted area archives, museums, and libraries, including the California Historical Society, the San Francisco African American Historical Society, the African American Museum and Library at Oakland, San Francisco Public Library History Center, California State Public Library, church and organization archives, and family albums. She has managed to weave a photographic tapestry of the amazing stories and history that began during the early years of the Gold Rush and continue into the present.