From the outside, Rainbow Sign didn’t look like much. Housed in a modest building it sat on the corner of Grove (now MLK Jr. Way) and Derby in Berkeley, a quiet, beige house with a tasteful, arched doorway. But on the inside was a vibrant black cultural arts center that drew cultural icons from across the country.
The all-inclusive space caught the attention of UC Berkeley students Tessa Rissacher and Max Lopez. Together, they decided to go digging through archives to unearth the legacy of the multipurpose venue as part of a digital history project for an undergraduate seminar, taught by professor Scott Saul, on the city of Berkeley’s transformation in the late 1960s and 1970s.