Talma Catherine Brooks (1904-1953), attended UC Berkeley 1921-1923, 1925-1928

Talma Catherine BrooksTalma Catherine Brooks was born in San Francisco in 1904. She graduated from Oakland High School in 1920 and entered the University of California in 1921. Her time at Berkeley spans into the 1927-28 academic year. She had a series of starts and stops and never completed her degree. Census data shows, however, that she remained very active in the Oakland community, working, along with Tarea Hall Pittman, in the California State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs. Brooks enjoyed singing and is often mentioned as a performer in local newspapers of the day. She was a soloist at the memorial service of the venerable author and Oakland Tribune Columnist, Delilah L. Beasley, who died in 1934. The following year, Brooks appeared in a 1935 photo in the Oakland Tribune as a member of a racially mixed group of singers called the Jackson Choral Society of Oakland. The California State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs Yearly Journal of 1953, acknowledged her death describing Brooks as a dedicated member of the Phyllis Wheatley Club, serving the organization over the years as both secretary and editor.

(Rho Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority photo of Talma Catherine Brooks,  courtesy of the African American Museum and Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library – University of California Collection)