Tarnel Abbott

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Tarnel Abbott (born 1953) is an award-winning free speech advocate, activist, and librarian from Richmond, California. She is the great-granddaughter of Jack London.[1][2] Abbott is also a prominent fixture in local politics and council meetings.


Tarnel Abbott is the reference librarian of the Richmond, California Library and has used her position to advocate for free speech. In 2006 the California Library Association awarded her the Zoia Horn Intellectual Freedom Award[3] for her community activism, a collaborative film series with the ACLU, banned books displays.[1] She was also applauded for lobbying for a counter PATRIOT Act resolution from the city council to prevent government snooping into library records.[1] Abbott has also participated in delegations to Richmond's sister city of Regla, Cuba and received a display of over 100 paintings which display the history of that largely Afro-Cuban and similarly industrial and refinery-laden city.[1] Abbott frequently protests with community groups at Chevron USA's corporate headquarters in nearby San Ramon. She is an opponent of casino developments and supports transforming the city into a green economy.

She serves as a councilmember of the Zeneca/Former Stauffer Chemical Company Community Advisory Group[4]

Tarnel Abbott is an accomplished artist, making various displays, paintings, and dioramas depicting everyday life in Richmond—particularly industrial pollution and the Tent Cities Movement, which have earned her praise.[5]


Abbott's husband is palm tree farmer Robert Fowler.[1] She is a fan and historian of her great-grandfather, although she does not embellish.[6] She attended the University of California, Berkeley, as did her ancestor Jack London.


  1. ^ a b c d e Richmond’s Activist Librarian Honored By Colleagues, Berkeley Daily Planet, by Richard Brenneman, December 8, 2006, retrieved September 8, 2007
  2. ^ 125th Anniversary of Jack London's birth, JackLondon.org, by Tarnel Abbott, December 12, 2001, retrieved September 9, 2007
  3. ^ Nominations for Excellence as a Public Librarian Archived 2007-10-17 at the Wayback Machine., California Library Association, July 19, 2007, retrieved September 9, 2007
  4. ^ Minutes, Zeneca/Former Stauffer Chemical Company Community Advisory Group, June 30, 2005, retrieved September 9, 2007
  5. ^ Art exhibit gives look, feel of Richmond, by John Geluardi, Oakland Tribune, April 29, 2007, retrieved September 9, 2007
  6. ^ Literary legacy sold in Oakland Restored San Antonio home of Jack London 'in good hands', by Tyche Hendricks, San Francisco Chronicle, August 9, 2003, retrieved September 9, 2007