“Let them know all the things that are available to them.”

By Jason Land Jr.

In the spirit of Black History Month, Grandma Whoople and BBDI heed forward with an informational ‘Mystery Bus Tour’ on the myriad monumental black people and localities within the city of Bakersfield that have assisted in black representation. On the morning of February 22nd, over fifty children gathered at the Holloway-Gonzales Library on 506 E. Brundage Lane in preparation to embark on the highly anticipated mystery bus tour. Kids from different races and ages ranging from three to fifteen all garnered the opportunity to be the first group of children to get an all-access pass on the history of the many black establishments throughout Bakersfield. 

The Mystery Bus Tour is an enterprise created by Michelle Rainey, BBDI, which seeks to highlight local businesses and institutions that are available to the public. In the introduction of a children’s bus tour, personality Grandma Whoople took initiative to direct kids within Bakersfield to different black associations for an exciting educational joyride! 

When speaking on the value behind children taking the educational mystery bus tour, Grandma Whoople vocalized the importance of black identification and representation not being estranged, and creating a better understanding amongst children in their communities. With the intention of inviting kids of different races, Whoople zeroed in on the gravity behind allowing other young children to see successful black businesses and institutions, and through this eviction of estrangement will come mingling and togetherness.

“To educate them about the black culture. It’s not just for the black community, but everybody as a whole. I feel that the more they know about that culture, the world will be a better place.” — Grandma Whoople

Some of the sites the children visited on Saturday was Bakersfield’s first black fire department from the 1950’s, located at the corner of East Brundage Lane and South King Street, the Bakersfield’s Singers Association, Cain Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church— the oldest black church in Bakersfield established in 1880— and the Kern County Black Chambers of Commerce on 2623 F. Street, among many more locations!

In the concluding stop of the Mystery Bus Tour, the children visited and toured the Fox Theatre, where they viewed an informational slideshow on illustrious black influencers and enjoyed popcorn, hotdogs, and a refreshing drink of choice! With the Children’s Mystery Bus Tour rolling in place, children around the city will continue to see the limitless possibilities that are available to them and reach for the skies of success— along with being well-educated on the rich history of sweet, black Bakersfield!