Natalie F. Jones

Richmond man reconnects slave colony descendants

Nat Fitz doesn’t consider himself a history buff. The Richmond resident, who is 86, never talked to his parents about the family’s history and ancestors. It wasn’t until he was in his 70s that he started taking an interest in the past, after he discovered that members of his family were part of a colony for former slaves in Kansas.

Making Richmond healthy on a dime

As obesity sweeps the nation and a book about health or food seems to come out every other week, a few people in Richmond are doing their best to reverse the weight gain trend and improve the city’s health statistics.

A Richmond activist fights gangs and governors

It’s not hard to imagine how Barbara Becnel charmed her way into spending more than 12 hours a day with Los Angeles gangsters for a year and a half. Or befriended a former gangster on death row for murder. Or ran for governor of California.

Main Library

The Main Library has an urban feel and a lot more traffic than either of the branches. High ceilings and bare linoleum floors remind you that you’re in a government building, not a living room, and the only places to sit are at wooden tables and chairs. Patrons of Main are there to get things done, not to relax, and the noisy, bustling atmosphere reflects that. Most of the system’s collection is housed here, so for research purposes it is…

Richmond Library System

The City of Richmond operates its own library system independent from the county, and has since 1907. The system consists of a main library, two branches and a traveling bookmobile for children. The staff move around regularly between the branches, the Main library and the Bookmobile, so they have a good sense of how the entire system works. While specific books might be hard to find at the Bayview and Westside branches, the librarians will bring books over from the…


The Richmond Library’s Bookmobile is the system’s library on wheels, serving children. The program was founded in 1947, and was the first of its kind west of the Mississippi. The converted bus travels four days a week and visits 21 schools around the city. Students can climb aboard the moving library when it stops at their school for just under an hour and check out up to six books each until the next week. They can also register for a…

Bayview Branch

Bayview is tucked in a corner next to a fire station in southern Richmond right off Interstate 580. The neighborhood is quiet and feels safe, and the atmosphere inside is similar. Striped wall-to-wall carpeting covers the floor of the library’s single room and bright blue and multi-colored cartoonish couches and chairs provide comfortable seating. Everything is impeccably clean. The library parking lot can hold only four or five cars, but street parking is abundant. Four fast computers sit on a…

Westside Branch

The Westside branch is on the island in the middle of downtown Point Richmond, facing Washington Street. It’s an easy stop for anyone running errands in the Point’s  commercial district. The library has no parking lot, but street parking is usually easy to find. Lunch spots and coffee shops surround the library. Like the neighborhood, the Westside library feels peaceful even when it’s busy. Patrons come in and out casually and the librarians are friendly. A square room about the…

Cheering to the end

The Richmond High football team was getting slammed 42-0 in the last quarter of its game against Pinole Valley. The Varsity cheer team stood in position looking at the field, hands in the pockets of their matching jackets, trying to hold their stoic poses in the chilly air.

Richmond Bay Trail Map

Check out the highlights of the San Francisco Bay Trail along the Richmond shoreline, including a new railroad museum and a car graveyard. Our interactive map features tips on getting the most from the trail, whether you walk, run, bike or blade. Twenty-six miles of the trail lie in Richmond – more than in any other city.