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Linda Norton (Oakland) collaborating with Peralta Hacienda Historical Park (Oakland) and fiscal sponsor Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park

Award: $40,000 Literary Arts grant awarded in 2014

To be presented: summer-fall 2015

Linda Norton is collaborating with staff and visitors to Peralta Hacienda Historical Park (Peralta Hacienda) to explore how mass incarceration affects the daily lives of low-income families living in the blocks around the Peralta Hacienda site in Oakland’s Fruitvale District.

Norton notes, “In East Oakland we know many people of color who are ‘away’ (or on parole or probation) at any given time,” and these community members are dispersed to facilities throughout the state—far from their families. For this project, Home and Away: Oakland California’s Prisons, and the Geography of the Heart, Norton will work at the Peralta Hacienda and offsite to explore the connections between those who remain in the neighborhood and those who are behind bars. She will conduct outreach and interviews in collaboration with Peralta staff and community, invite community members’ hands-on participation, create an exhibition and web presentation, and write a book.

Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park works to promote understanding, historical healing, and community amid change and diversity. It presents and interprets the untold history of the Peralta Rancho and the stories of the Fruitvale community today, giving voice to the many cultures that have created—and are still transforming—California. The six-acre park and historic house form an arts and educational hub for local families and youth.

Writer Linda Norton is an archivist and senior editor at the Bancroft Library’s Regional Oral History Office. She has a long history of working with documentary and found objects in her collages and exhibits. Her debut publication, The Public Gardens: Poems and History (2011), was a finalist for an LA Times book prize.