Cleavon Smith is an award-winning playwright and professor originally from Mississippi. He was awarded a California Arts Council grant to collect stories from Oakland residents about what makes Oakland home. Cleavon lives in Oakland and teaches English at Berkeley City College. He has served as an artist mentor for Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s Young Writers of Color Collective. Born at the dawn of Mississippi’s post-Jim Crow experiment, he took to writing as a way of making a space for himself and the others with similar experiences.