Posted in Black History, People, Transportation, West Oakland

Oakland’s First African American Cab Driver

Phillip Richard Springer (1874-1952) was the first black man in Oakland to own a taxicab. He was born in Barbados, in the British West Indies and left home at age 16. At first he operated under a jitney permit in Oakland, but he later had the license changed to a taxicab permit. By 1915, Springer’s Cab Company was well established.

The Pullman Porters and West Oakland

The 1916 Directory listed Springer at 1926 Chestnut Street with chauffeur as his occupation

1916
1926 Chestnut – Google Maps

In the 1917 directory, he is listed at 835 Union Street with chauffeur as his occupation.

1917

In the 1925 directory, he is listed along with his wife Edna at 879 Campbell Street with taxi cab driver as his occupation.

1925

From 1927 until his death in 1952, he lived at 957-35th Street with his family. The 1930 census reports that he owns his home, and he was a taxi cab driver at his own stand.

1935
The Springer Home from 1927-at least 1952
957- 35th Street – Google Maps
Exhibit at the African American History Library Oakland
Oakland Tribune Nov 1952

Taxicab Driver Robbed

Oakland Tribune 1942
SF Examiner Jan 1947

Accident

The End

Author:

II have been an Oakland history buff since going on an Oakland Heritage Alliance Tour of the Fernwood Neighborhood in the Montclair District of Oakland, in the mid-'80s. On that tour, I learned that there use to be a train (Sacramento Northern) that ran through Montclair in the early 1900s and that people lived the area as early as 1860s β€” been hooked ever since. Since then, I have spent a lot of time looking into the history of Montclair, and I have learned a lot. I feel this will be the best way to get it out of my head and onto paper.

2 thoughts on “Oakland’s First African American Cab Driver

  1. Hi Jake

    This is a local blog I follow. She writes in the first person and shares down to earth stories. Here’s how she started. https://abitofhistory.website/2017/09/16/first-blog-post/?wref=tp

    Peace & Resistance

    Mark Corbett Wilson

    β€œIn a world of change, the learners shall inherit the earth, while the learned shall find themselves perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists.” ~ Eric Hoffer

    On Sun, Feb 23, 2020 at 4:19 AM A Bit of History wrote:

    > oaklanddots posted: “Phil R Springer The Pullman Porters and West Oakland > Phillip Richard Springer (1874-1952) was the first black man in Oakland to > own a taxicab. He was born in Barbados, in the British West Indies and left > home at age 16. At first he operated under a jitney” >

    Liked by 1 person

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