In that same manner, Supervisor Malia Cohen made sure all of her fellow legislators joined Supervisors London Breed and David Chiu as co -sponsors of Resolution 140712 on the use of city right of way for the West’s first African American Freedom Trail. She wanted to underscore the importance of what Dr. Amos C. Brown had said at Sunday’s NAACP meeting is “a really big deal.”
Brown was conducting the meeting inside Third Baptist Church in a building where W.EB. DuBois, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Paul Robeson have spoken to a congregation founded in 1852. Yet the building is not a landmark. It had to stick in his craw that his home state of Mississippi, where he headed the NAACP Youth Division in the 1950s and watched friends like Emmitt Till martyred, has an African American Freedom Trail, while San Francisco had conspicuously ignored the role of Third Baptist and four other 1852 era churches and lodges in the Underground Railroad and every human rights issue since then.
The omission has been deepseated. The 1965 photo shows the United San Francisco Freedom Movement calling for the reuse of the Old Mint at Fifth and Mission for a black history center.
As the vote approached, a group of supporters gathered in Supervisor Cohen’s office. We had marshalled top scholars like UC-Santa Barbara’s Douglas Daniels, UCLA’s Alva Stevenson, Stanford’s Bill Gould and Georgia State’s Joyce King along with the historian member of the State Historical Resources Commission, Rick Moss.
On hand was school board president Sandra Fewer, Presidio education coordinator Ranger Rik Penn, publisher/editor team of Gerald and Valerie Johnson, PACT executive director Derek Toliver, filmmaker Kevin Epps, the brand new pastor of El Bethel Baptist Church and Planet Fillmore’s Lance Burton.
Mawuli Tugbenyoh, legislative aide to Supervisor Malia Cohen, meets with Derek Toliver, CEO of PACT Inc., Small Business Exchange editor Valerie Voorhees, myself, SBE publisher Gerald Johnson, filmmaker Kevin Epps and Ranger Rik Penn from the Presidio in a 1901 uniform the Buffalo Soldiers would have worn while escorting President Teddy Roosevelt prior to vote on the African American Freedom Trail resolution.Lance Burton photo.
We watched as Supervisor Cohen drew on that history in remarks that evoked the shrewdness of Mary Ellen Pleasant, the presence of Elouise Westbrook, the attention to process of Mary Helen Rogers and the passion of Maya Angelou.
Then she welcomed her colleagues to join her, with the subtlety of Stagecoach Mary Fields, and waited until each came aboard to approve the measure unanimously.
Due to an uncharacteristically short agenda, it would be the last item before adjournment.
It was poetry in politics.
“She’s the reason I began wearing a dashiki and having the robes with kente cloth,” underscoring how fundamentally she had transformed his ministry in the 1960s during a celebration of her life Sunday, June 15 at Glide Memorial Church.
To put that relationship in context, Angelou, 20 years after thinking the height of her ambition was to be a conductor on the San Francisco trolleys, was a close confidante and traveller with Malcolm X; a staff member of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Williams’ comrade in a revolutionary shift of a staid downtown Methodist church into a global beacon for human rights.
Forty years after that, she was summoning Rep. Barbara Lee to her home to undergird the congresswoman after she had been the only member of the House to vote against authorizing the use of force in Iraq.
Angelou was a conductor of the African American freedom movement much like her San Francisco predecessor Mary Ellen Pleasant. Parallels in their lives include their early involvement in the city’s rowdy waterfront entertainment district, reaching across the continent to support freedom fighters and the willingness to risk their personal freedom for the sake of progress.
For Lee, Angelou was confirmation that a single mother could accomplish great things. “If she could do it, so could I!” The words of her first book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” told of a young girl so scarred by abuse that she lost her voice for several years.
So Angelou encouraged Lee to write her own first book and insisted that she premiere it on Angelou’s radio show.
Former Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr. suggested that Angelou was already “directing the Almighty”, then dialed that back to “advising” using his own experience with her as a reference. “When I was mayor, every time I saw her, she would tell me what I was doing wrong, but she did it in such a loving way that you looked forward to the next time.”
Williams, despite extensive contact with celebrities for the past 50 years, still seemed genuinely in awe of Angelou. “She had the best food. When we were at her home in Winston-Salem, she served oxtails. I had never before had oxtails, but they were so good I was looking forward to some more.”
Another frequent guest was writer-singer-producer Valerie Simpson, who had participated in the nationally televised celebration of Angelou last weekend in Winston-Salem, N.C., closing the program with her song Remember Me.
Simpson flew out to San Francisco as well. Williams called on her for remarks, which led her to stride over to the keyboards and launch into Walking Around Heaven.
After ending Maya Angelou’s Winston-Salem service with Remember Me, Valerie Simpson came to Glide Memorial and took it to another level with Walk Around Heaven.
Alameda County Judge Gordon Baranco invoked Khalil Gibran during his remarks that children come through us not from us. He discussed the mentor diversion court he officiates to help 18-24 year olds escape long- term incarceration, and urged everyone to see our children as their responsibility.
Synod of Pacific will convey to attorneys general, federal and state banking regulators and banking leaders in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington its wish that mortgage modifications be completed by October 2015, seven years after the financial crisis, referencing a scorecard completed by the Interfaith Council on Corporate Responsibility. Eighteen percent of mortgages are still underwater nationally, but there are much higher concentrations in communities within our five-state region.
When I began working for Ray Boone as a reporter at the Richmond AFRO-AMERICAN and Richmond Planet in 1977, I quickly came to the conclusion that he intended to destroy every ounce of self-confidence I had. Cockiness defined me coming in the door. I had been the AFRO’s White House and Capitol Hill reporter, worked in the Washington Post newsroom during Watergate and just run a statewide campaign in North Carolina. At 22, I already had multiple scalps as an investigative reporter.
But in Ray’s world at Third and Clay Streets, nothing I did was right, every sentence was scrutinized, every punctuation mark challenged and my judgment ridiculed. Finally, I had enough and quit, despite having a new wife and baby on the way. Ray refused to accept my resignation. I would win an NNPA First Prize Merit Award later that year for the feature story on my son’s birth and go to grad school to research the greats of the black press. Two years later I was honored to succeed Ray as editor of the Richmond AFRO and lead it through its centennial as the first black newspaper to achieve 100 years of service, although I was the youngest person on the staff. While sitting in that office, I would look at the holes from machine gun fire which had come through the building, look across the street at Oliver Hill’s office where the strategy for Brown v. Board of Education was forged and appreciate having covered the night when the Capital of the Confederacy elected its first black mayor. When anyone wonders why I am such an arrogant, obstreperous, unrelenting asshole about justice, completely oblivious to the consequences, it is because Ray Boone reinforced what my other AFRO mentors like Art Carter, Sam Lacy, Ida Peters, Moses Newsom, John Oliver and John Murphy 3d instilled in me–that the only reason I am a black journalist is to stand up for what is Right, and that I can only be effective when everything I do is at the highest standard of excellence. I celebrate Ray Boone on his passing for continuing to pass the torch that John Russwurm and Rev. Samuel Cornish lit in 1827 when they proclaimed “We wish to plead our own cause.”
E.W. Wainwright, Fred Harris and Archbishop Franzo King in an extended rendition of A Love Supreme at St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church in San Francisco. Wainwright sat in on drums to celebrate his 75th birthday with Harris, a collaborator for 20 years. During my brief remarks, I noted that Benjamin Franklin “Reb” Spikes made the saxophone essential to jazz in San Francisco as part of the So Diff’rent Jazz Orchestra at Purcell’s So Diff’rent. Bringing WURD’s Coast to Coast from Philadelphia to St. John Coltrane and other locations along the African American Freedom Trail Friday. Wainwright was founder of the iconic group The African Roots of Jazz in 1970.
The same year as the Dred Scott decision, 1857, the daughter of Peter Lester, one of the leaders of the Underground Railroad in San Francisco and California, was denied admission to a school because of her race. It was less than a decade after Capt. William Alexander Leidesdorff dedicated California’s first public school. But by 1854, colored students were placed in a segregated school on Broadway. The exclusion of Lester’s daughter was one of the incidents which led to the Exodus of 1858 when 700 of San Francisco’s 1,500 black residents moved to Victoria, British Columbia at the invitation of the black provincial governor James Douglass.
Those who stayed continued the fight for justice. Mary Ellen Pleasant would fund the case of Charlotte Brown, the teenaged daughter of her associate James Brown, in the 1864 case which found that street car segregation was illegal. Later that year, she would file her own case on the same issue.
By 1872, soon after the passage of the 15th Amendment, Mary Frances Ward, an eleven-year-old would attempt to enter Broadway Grammar School, which had been reserved for white students. When the principal, Noah Flood, refused her admission, her parents, A.J. and Harriet Ward, filed suit in the case Ward v. Flood to end school segregation. That case was unsuccessful exactly 80 years before Brown v. Board of Education.
In 1890, Wysinger v. Cruickshank did end school segregation in California, 64 years before Brown vs. Board of Education. The sites of Lester, Leidesdorff, Ward, Pleasant and the schools are part of the African-American Freedom Trail in San Francisco, a collection of locations which contributed to the growth of democracy in the United States and worldwide. More details on the history of civil rights litigation in California can be found in Come to the Water: Sharing the Rich Black Experience in San Francisco. or in the documentary The African-American Freedom Trail.
It matters that California school children like Earl Warren in the early 20th century were already accustomed to attending integrated schools. Among his playmates in Bakersfield were the brothers of Mrs. Tarea Hall Pittman, the regional director of the NAACP, and a fellow graduate of the UC-Berkeley, like Warren. One of Warren’s friends at Berkeley was Walter Gordon, the school’s first black football player and later among the first black policemen in Oakland, when Warren would start his political career as district attorney.
In Oakland, Warren would see the extraordinary role of African-Americans in the World War II victory and witness the integrated labor unions along the waterfront. In 1946, California would vote on an initiative to create a fair employment practices law. He would be governor of California when Loren Miller,, a Los Angeles attorney, would win the U.S. Supreme Court case ending restrictive racial covenents for real estate subdivisions and when Pasadena’s Jackie Robinson, a UCLA alumnus, would desegregate major league baseball.
The founder of Sylvia’s is honored with the renaming of the street next to her restaurant.
Interview with host Cristin Ayres airs Sunday, April 20 at 8 a.m. on KBHK CW44 (Cable 12) in the Bay Area viewing market. We discuss many of the fascinating locations on the African-American Freedom Trail, why the trail is important to the sense of belonging for African-American residents and visitors and preview the upcoming Red, Black & Green investment seminar on African-American life science, energy and environmental manufacturers April 23 at the Black Coalition on AIDS, 601 Cesar Chavez at 9 a.m.
The location at 1000 Van Ness is one of the sites in the African-American Freedom Trail.
In my favorite TV show, Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope breaks into hysterical laughter upon learning that practically everyone around her is a murderer, including her own mother and father. “What’s the point?” she exclaimed on ABC’s Scandal.
In San Francisco’s real life version, yesterdays Chronicle asked how a former bank teller became president of the school board, and then a high priced consultant for some of the city’s richest companies. He and a state senator were recently arrested with dozens in an indictment that gives Shonda Rimes a run for her money.
With the wide array of competing interests and high stakes, San Francisco’s one party state makes Afghanistan look organized.
However the fixer scenario in both plots is common to black communities around the planet. Whereever one goes, there is someone whose sole function is to keep things quiet while such abuses as predatory lending and inadequate education proceed to the detriment of the black masses. On the same day, Charlotte’s mayor was arrested and forced to resign.
Folks who actually have solutions get ignored as long as these fixers are willing to take a few dollars. While legitimate efforts have had doors slammed in their faces, jaw dropping sums are spent on “consultants.”
That’s why for the past year, I have found the almost completely unknown United San Francisco Freedom Movement from 1963 to 1965 so compelling. Its leadership was raised to a high moral standard to serve the entire community interest without egos. They did research, determined the needs and fought for the solutions they identified.
As we have presented National Black Business Month for the past 10 years, I’ve always found that asking someone to read our State of Black Business report is a great screening tool. If they’re not interested in the research, they’re just interested in themselves.
Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the Cadillac sit-ins, the penultimate event of the Auto Row campaign which shut down Van Ness Ave. My documentary The African American Freedom Trail and the companion exhibition premiere at 4 p.m. at the Black Coalition on AIDS, 601 Cesar Chavez.
Since last August, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the principals of the movement, who still retain their same values, are fighting for the same causes and are still shy around the limelight. They went to jail proudly in 1964 because they knew their cause was just .
But when outmigration and unemployment shackle communities although resources are available, we must insist like 50 years ago that the powerful do more than grease a few palms.
The 375 employer agreements achieved by the United San Francisco Freedom Movement are an eloquent testimony to what can happen when the focus is on the fix rather than the fixer.
The premiere of the ReUNION: Education-Arts-Heritage documentary The African-American Freedom Trail marks the 50th anniversary of the Auto Row demonstrations which changed American industry for a generation by opening up the Big Three automakers to fair employment and dealership practices.
it screens on Friday, April 11 at 4 p.m. in the Black Coalition on AIDS, 601 Cesar Chavez. Admission is $15 for the screening;$35 for the screening and the companion book Come to the Water: Sharing the Rich Black Experience in San Francisco.
On April 11, 1964, Dr. Nathaniel Burbridge, a University of California San Francisco pharmacology professor serving as president of the San Francisco NAACP, led a demonstration which resulted in 227 arrests in the Cadillac Agency at 1000 Van Ness Ave. Two days later, similar demonstrations were planned at dealerships in 35 cities. An agreement was announced at the front of 1000 Van Ness.
In an initiative to demonstrate the civic, economic and personal benefits of restoring a sense of belonging for African-Americans — 100,000 strong in San Francisco from the 1950s through the 1980s, ReUNION: Education-Arts-Heritage has reached a three year agreement to present the African-American Freedom Trail to the 16 million visitors to San Francisco through the San Francisco Travel website.
An exhibition on the trail is currently at the Black Coalition on AIDS, 601 Cesar Chavez. A companion documentary premieres Friday, April 11 at 4 p.m. in the BCOA headquarters. In a talk at San Francisco Travel Wednesday, historian John William Templeton explained the psycho-social impact of the many unique and counter-stereotypical aspects of local heritage.
On Thursday, he flabbergasted participants on a tour of the anniversary of the state’s first public school by describing the multi-faceted impact of Capt. William Alexander Leidesdorff, whose new life size statue is in the midst of the Financial District
In May, San Francisco Travel President Joe d’Alessandro will join a group of radio listeners from Philadelphia’s WURD who are taking a tour of the African-American Freedom Trail.
A brochure on the trail was distributed in November at the Coalition of Black Meeting Planners conferenceo rave reviews.
It was just another example of the overlooked history we show in the ReUNION: Education- Arts-Heritage documentary The African-American Freedom Trail, premiering Friday, April 11 at 4 p.m. at the Black Coalition on AIDS, 601 Cesar Chavez.
When I visited Booker’s office, at his construction company, Eastmont Builders, I was able to see where he got the winning attitude to succeed in business for more than a decade as a Class A and B contractor.
Earle Booker was inducted into the University of San Francisco Athletic Hall of Fame in 1959 along with K.C. Jones and Bill Russell of basketball fame and football pioneers Ollie Matson and Burl Toler. In the same year, the two highest paid players in their sports, Willie Mays and Wilt Chamberlain, both played for San Francisco teams.
Another famous family boxer was Earle’s brother, Hilton “Eddie” Booker, a light heavyweight professional considered one of the Murderers Row boxers in the 1940s and now installed in the World Boxing Hall of Fame.
Ian Booker would become a champion wrestler at Castlemont High School, and his brother Kim Booker a national champion in boxing, followed by his state champion wrestler son Ian in the 1990s. That sense of belonging at the top is a characteristic of what historian Dr. Douglas Daniels calls the “pioneer urbanites” throughout local history. Booker continued to coach wrestling at Oakland Tech and for freestyle teams, producing an Olympian wrestler Steven Abas.
Having spent much of his life developing young people, Booker is troubled by the lack of direction he is seeing among many young men. He believes a knowledge of the accomplisments and attitudes of prior generations is essential.
Taking the revitalization of Oakland into his own hands, he’s purchased abandoned properties through tax lien auctions to to clean up neighborhoods and train young people in construction, literally by example. “When they see me working on a house, they are coming to me filled with questions about how they can get work,” said Booker. “Every abandoned house is like a tooth that has been pulled. It’s an open sore.”
With California reviewing Prop. 209 again, the multiple bottom line benefits of community-minded black businesses like Eastmont Builders become an important consideration..
“As a Class A and B contractor, I can build anything,” said Booker, who holds a degree in mathematics from San Francisco State. “It’s satisfying to go by a finished product and think I did that.”
He is equally proud of his grandparent’s legendary exploits during World War II. From their house at Baker and California Sts., “they operated an Underground Railroad for Japanese Americans who did not want to go to internment camps. We had lots of rooms and they could hide until they made arrangements to go somewhere else.”
These are among the important milestones along the African American Freedom Trail.
Since 1973, Everett and Jones has been a Bay Area institution for its barbecue, but it also has.been a pioneer in craft brewing with its Saucy Sista Ale. Check it out on the last weekend of Black Food Month along with hundreds of other venues in Say Grace and Wipe Yo Hands: BlackRestaurant.Net’s Guide to America’s Black Restaurants.
Discussing my book Compelling State Interest: California after Proposition 209 with the editorial board of KPIX/KCBS.
Craves restaurant in Charleston is a good place to begin recognizing the centrality of African-American food to American culture. The Low Country cuisine is a direct retention of African culture.
Author John William Templeton starts there in Say Grace and Wipe Yo’ Hands: The BlackRestaurant.NET Guide to America’s Black Restaurants. To underscore his theme, he launched Black Food Month in March to follow up on the impact of National Black Business Month, which he co-founded in 2004.
“More than one million African-Americans work in food service, we generate $6 billion from food-related businesses and $75 billion we spend on food each year is our second largest expenditure,” says the veteran historian and business journalist.
In Say Grace, he answers the age-old question for black travelers: “Where can I get some of our food?” More than 500 ot the top locations in states across the nation are cited in the book, which grew out of a National Black Business Month exhibition in 2005 where he located all 60 black restaurants in San Francisco
The South Carolina connection continues as the most famous name in black food, the late Sylvia Woods, migrated from there to Harlem where she launched Sylvia’s in 1962. Now, her foods are in grocery stores across the planet. It is a path that many more African-American entrepreneurs are following as they lift their sights beyond having just one restaurant, to creating chains, writing cookbooks, producing television shows and filling supermarket aisles.
Templeton sees the current generation of black chefs restoring the prominence of blacks in American cooking in the earliest days of the republic, when the first caterers were black businessmen in Philadelphia.
During March, when eating out is a national pastime for spring break, college basketball playoffs, and Easter, Templeton encourages all foodies to consciously seek out at least one African-American food business–a restaurant, caterer, manufacturer–each day of March. It is the same 31 Ways 31 Days approach used during National Black Business Month in August.
Say Grace is designed to facilitate that patronage with locatons of the largest African-American chains, a breakdown of African-American franchisees, African,Caribbean, vegetarian, seafood, barbecue and chicken eateries, a list of black food manufacturers and notable celebrity eateries. It also lists the Top 50 Names in Black Food and gives a list of suggested activities for each day of March.
Templeton brings a rich background to the field. His father was a submarine cook in the Navy during World War II and managed a restaurant for several decades in North Carolina. He’s been a journalist for 41 years, editing the first black newspaper to have a centennial edition and serving as the first black editor of a business newspaper at the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
In his hometown of San Francisco, he recently completed the African-American Freedom Trail, an exhibit and brochure in conjunction with San Francisco Travel to highlight African-American attractions in the city leading to upcoming legislation to create the first such trail in the Western states.
Greg and Karen Johnson unearthed this 1983 article and photo on the centennial of the country’s oldest black newspaper when I was editor of the Richmond AFRO-AMERICAN and the Richmond Planet. Looking at the whole issue, I found myself fascinated by what else was happening: Michael Jackson releasing Billie Jean, Stevie Wonder at a new record label, The Associated Press settlement and the reunification of the Presbyterian church.
Gussie’s Chicken and Waffles owner and chef Michelle Wilson offered her latest creation–collard greens pesto–during the Love and Basketball festival at Ella Hill Hutch Center Saturday.
A long-time supporter of National Black Business Month, she’s forged in daring new directions with African-American cuisine. Like jazz, its attributes blend with many other traditions.
London native David Lawrence, chef and co-owner of 1300, also shared a sports-watching favorite, andouille sausage with his personally-made creole mustard, for the audience. Lawrence also described the experience of representing the San Francisco 49ers during Super Bowl Weekend in New York as chefs from each league city raised money to support foodbanks nationally.
Both are located at the only intersection in San Francisco with black-owned food businesses on all four corners, Eddy and Fillmore, one of the details one can discover in Say Grace and Wipe Yo’ Hands: the BlackRestaurant.NET Guide to America’s Black Restaurants.
On Soul Food Saturday, March 15, visit them and 800 other restaurants/manufacturers listed in the book. Eat and tweet your picture to blkbizmonth as we document the flavors and economic impact of this $6 billion sector and encourage more of the $75 billion in African-American food expenditures to flow through these innovators.
Calafia in the Classroom gives the power-packed pioneers of the Golden State direct access to growing minds by placing the award-winning anthology Our Roots Run Deep: the Black Experience in California, Vols. 1-4 in every classroom in the state. There is a movement afoot to create an African-American Freedom Trail across California to reflect the immense history in all 58 counties over the past 500 years.
Get the full list of suggested activities for The annual National Black Business Month in Impact Inequity with Investment: State of Black Business, 11th edition, which has our annual rankings for each state using our black business affinity index.
This year, we introduce Buzz, the Black Business Bee, who lets consumers know how to find black businesses around the country to help create jobs and improve neighborhoods.
We have also scrutinized utility supplier diversity programs around the country and assess the unmet capital demand for African-American businesses in each state.
One can also take advantage of the new ReUNION Heritage Tours along The African-American Freedom Trail, recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, KPIX-5 and KBCW-44 in the Bay Area. The trail is the product of our thorough books such as Come to the Water: Sharing the Rich Black Experience in San Francisco and Cakewalk: an historical novel about the unsung creators of jazz music.
Silicon Ceiling 13: Equal Opportunity & High Technology continues the series that has been the bible for African-Americans in technology since 1998, cited in Congressional hearings,floor speeches and by Presidential candidates.
During the Black Health and Wellness Expo, we cited its statistics on the dearth of African-American employment in Silicon Valley and called for a goal of hiring 10,000 African-American tech workers in San Francisco in the next two years. San Francisco is 44th among American counties for black computer employment and Santa Clara County is 40th. Get the full story in Silicon Ceiling 13.
This year, we continue our thrust on innovators with the capacity to create jobs as we observe Black Innovation Month. Affirmative action is in the news again with the Supreme Court decision affirming Initiative Two in Michigan. Find out the results of Proposition 209 in California in the updated version of Compelling State Interest, a contrahistory comparison of California, Florida and Washington. Great resources for civil rights litigators and scholars as we provide rarely seen outcomes from a naturally controlled public policy experiment.
If you are a California social science teacher seeking cultural competency leading up to the anniversary of the first public school in California, by the African-American ship captain, merchant and diplomat — William Alexander Leidesdorff — on April 3, 1848 –or just have your curiosity piqued by the African-American Freedom Trail exhibition at the Black Coalition on AIDS, get the Queen Calafia classroom kit
- Our Roots Run Deep: the Black Experience in California, Vols. 1-4
- Come to the Water: Sharing the Rich Black Experience in California
- Black Heritage as Gap Closer
To learn about the real story of how jazz was created during Jazz Appreciation Month, get your copy of Cakewalk: an historical novel about the unsung creators of jazz.
For entrepreneurs wishing to use our CATAPULTECHR advisory services during Black Innovation Month in April and Black Food Month in March, including the fabulous resources of Year of Jubilee: State of Black Business, 10th edition and Silicon Ceiling 13: Equal Opportunity and High Technology, plus entrepreneurship coaching leading up to National Black Business Month in August
At Kaiser Permanente facilities in Vallejo, patients are known to casually drop the name of “Mr. Tyson” as a long time family friend when they want special attention.
Although Vallejo native Bernard J. Tyson is now CEO of the $55 billion, 200,000 employee health maintenance organization based in nearby Oakland, he hopes that all 10 million patients feel as if they personally know the boss.
The result would be better medicine and much better health, he contended during a speech at the University of San Francisco. He particularly cites health disparities among African-Americans as an area where greater cultural competency is needed.
On Friday, the patient was the entire African-American community of San Francisco,surrounded by some of the world’s best health care, but beset with some of the most glaring disparities on the planet and losing black population more rapidly than any major city in the United States.
Tyson said he is approaching diverse needs of his stakeholders by dramatically increasing procurement among minority and women owned businesses from $400 million to $1.3 billion and constantly analyzing patient care data.
He met a local scientist whose discoveries could help both those efforts, Dr. John Commissiong, chief scientific officer of Amarantus Bioscience Holdings. It’s MANF smart protein has promising clinical results in therapies for Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and traumatic brain injury.
The morning symposium, a joint effort of the university and Mayor Edwin M. Lee, is the first of several gatherings planned to address the causes of the outmigration.
Dr. J. Renee Navarro, vice chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco, picked up on Tyson’s theme, pointing to its $500 million procurement budget, largely from federal research dollars, and new hospitals nearing completion.
Dr. Amos C. Brown, pastor of the 162-year-old Third Baptist Church, reminded all present that blacks had not shared in the San Francisco boom as its key industries of health care, technology and tourism all break new records.
One of the first questions from listeners during my appearance on the Carl Nelson Show on WOL Monday was “can you get other food than soul food at black restaurants?” We were discussing Black Food Month all of March and my constantly updating book Say Grace and Wipe Yo’ Hands: the BlackRestaurant.Net Guide to America’s Black Restaurants.
The answer came from my personal history and from the history of American cuisine, a field that was almost the exclusive preserve of African-Americans in the not too-distant past.
It also piqued curiosity for listeners to learn that there are chains of African American restaurants. I was called upon to list the largest Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery, which Lowell Hawthorne has built into a powerhouse with more than 100 franchises; Texas-based Williams Fried Chicken, founded by the civic-minded Hiawatha Williams and Presidential favorite Harold’s Chicken Shack, the Chicago-based icons now led by Kristen Pierce, daughter of founder Harold Pierce.
Locally, in D.C. It’s signature eatery is undergoing a growth spurt that has the late co-founder Ben Ali smiling. As his widow, Mrs. Virginia Ali, explained during a lengthy interview for Say Grace, they persevered since 1958 through the post-riot decline of U Street. When I was resident assistant at Howard University’s Cook Hall, I would take groups of dorm mates down the hill for half-smokes.
Now Ben’s has it’s own visitor center upstairs, fine dining in Ben’s Next Door, and concessions in both National Stadium and Fedex Field, with a new location under construction at Reagan National Airport.
Henry’s Soul Cafe also has four locations in the District and Maryland. Marcus Samuellsen has put his imprint on the new Howard Theater, in addition to his Red Rooster in Harlem, Marc Burger in Los Angeles and C Lounge in Chicago.
Between Ben’s and the Howard Theater is Oohs and Aahs, which is demonstrating that just one location can attract a global audience. Another of our college favorites, Florida Avenue Grill, has had so many celebrities eat there that it puts their signed photos as the covers of the menus. As an aside, my freshman instructor, revolutionary poet Haki Madhubuti had convinced me to become a vegetarian, but we always made exceptions for Ben’s Chili Bowl and Florida Ave. Grill.
Tamam Tracy Moncur was just months away from graduating from Berkeley High School. But when she summoned 2,000 demonstrators to sit-in at the Palace Hotel, she rocked the city’s establishment. The scenes of police carrying students out of the venerable establishment caused Mayor John Shelley to call all 37 of the city’s major hotels to meet with the 18-year-old leader of the Ad Hoc Coalition and her colleagues.
On March 6, 1964, they reached an agreement to integrate employment in the entire local hospitality industry, just six months after sit-ins began at Mel’s Drive-In.
On the 50th anniversary of that little-known civil rights milestone, Come to the Water: Teaching San Francisco Black History describes the United San Francisco Freedom Movement, subject of an exhibition Students and Scholars Marching for Civil Rights: The 50th anniversary of the United San Francisco Freedom Movement, at 3 p.m. at the Visitor Center Theater, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, 499 Jefferson St. in Fisherman’s Wharf.
Almost a century earlier, another local teen, Charlotte Brown, desegregated local streetcars in 1864 by refusing to go to the back of the vehicle. Come to the Water shows the relationship of the ongoing freedom movement which continued from the Underground Railroad through such contemporary milestones as the integration of labor unions, end of colonialism, and passage of national civil rights legislation.
The African-American Freedom Trail illustrates the physical footprint of those activities across the city. The exhibition closes on March 6 at Pier One, the headquarters of the Port of San Francisco, before moving to the Black Coalition on AIDS/Rafiki Wellness, 601 Cesar Chavez on Monday, March 10.
The California legislature created Black American Day on March 5 to honor Crispus Attucks as the first American to die for the country and to require every classroom in the state to focus on the contributions of African-Americans to American history.
The education holiday actually predates the creation of Black History Month in the mid-1970s, but is little known and rarely put into effect.
Come to the Water: Teaching San Francisco Black History continues its seven week course on Wednesday, March 5 with a discussion of the industrial period of the African-American freedom movement in San Francisco from 1929 to 1960.
A number of international figures got significant boosts to their stature in San Francisco during that period, including A. Philip Randolph, Dr. Howard Thurman, Langston Hughes and local youth like Bill Russell and K.C. Jones, Burl Toler and Ollie Matson, Maya Angelou and Johnny Mathis.
The African-American Freedom Trail is a powerful tool for illustrating the scope of that history.
Learn more about the period at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, in the Visitor Center Theater of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical
Park, 499 Jefferson St.
But when $75 billion of the $1.2 trillion African-Americans spent in 2013 went to food purchases of some kind, everybody takes notice.
The fourth annual Black Food Month in March calls attention to the entrepreneurs who are recognizing that those consumers want culture and quality with their cuisine.
We created a special month just for food as a spinoff from National Black Business Month because how and why and where we eat is a profoundly economic and political decision.
It is also one of the closest ways to track the retention of African culture. For a quarter century, the Black Cuisine Festival held yesterday along Third Street in San Francisco has given chefs an outlet for their own distinctive flavor. The staff and members of the Dr. George P. Davis Multipurpose Senior Center have taken particular pride in teaching those skills to new generations.
Back in 1881, one of the first cookbooks by a black chef, What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Food, had the same objective when published in San Francisco.
In the past week two of our Top 50 Names in Black Food teamed with the country’s foodie-in-chief as the First Lady issued announcements ending advertisements for sugary drinks in schools and improving food labels.
The influence on the mass market domestically and internationally is nothing new. What is changing is the recognition that black food innovators are receiving for their work.
Nowadays traditional showcases like Ebony and Essense have to vie with network morning shows and cable channels to book the hottest chefs, some reaching the acclaim once reserved for entertainers and athletes.
Our book SAY GRACE AND WIPE YO’ HANDS: BLACKRESTAURANT.NET’s Guide to America’s Black Restaurants gives consumers and purchasers the resource to capture that fast growing wave of flavor. With 800 listings, even in Utah, Idaho and Alaska, no traveler should be without this book.
From multistage chains to traditional community anchors, Black Food Month also provides the opportunity for the kind of promotion that large nationwide ventures typically enjoy.
31Ways31Days is our simple way to use SAY GRACE to find your feast during basketball playoffs, spring break and the Easter holidays. That include the rising number of grocery manufacturers following in the footsteps of the beloved late Sylvia Woods.
All month, we’ll highlight new locations and other milestones around the country. Don’t hesitate to let us know about businesses in your neck of the forest by tweeting us at blkbizmonth.
Salt Lake City and San Francisco are usually presented as polar opposites but across the street from the Mormon Temple Friday an audience was enthralled learning about San Francisco’s African American musical heritage. Today we continue that discussion in Fisherman’s Wharf at 11 am in the Visitor Center Theater of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, 499 Jefferson St. during Come to the Water.
I’ll discuss 38 landmarks and four streets recognizing African-Americans in downtown San Francisco during Come to the Water at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Visitor Center Theater of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, 499 Jefferson St. (at Hyde between the Cable Car turnaround and the Hotel Argonaut across from the Hyde Street pier).
The fourth marker honoring Capt. William Alexander Leidesdorff (pictured) has become an instant sensation in the Financial District with First Lady Michelle Obama and Gov. Jerry Brown having visited in the first month of its completion.
However, there is a figure with even more markers to his name in downtown.
Next Saturdays Come to the Water begins at the same location at 11 a.m. with a focus on the birth of jazz on March 1.
On March 5, Black American Day, a California state education holiday marking the death of Crispus Attucks as the first American to die for the country, we will look at the Double V era at 3 p.m.
On March 6, the 50th anniversary of the successful conclusion of the Palace Hotel sit-ins, we’ll discuss the continuing impact of the United San Francisco Freedom Movement at 3 p.m.. Both events are also at the Visitor Center Theater.
The newly completed statue of Capt. William Alexander Leidesdorff is capturing the attention of many, reports the company which installed the artwork in San Francisco’s Financial District. Megha Rajput, executive assistant at Clinton Reilly Holdings, said many people stop to ask questions about the engraved inscription which lists the many accomplishments of the sailor-merchant-diplomat-legislator who packed many lifetimes into a mere 38 years.
At the conclusion of the Black Maritime Heritage Festival, she mentioned that the First Lady, Michelle Obama, had seen the sculpture and legend while speaking at the One Leidesdorff Place meeting space operated by Clinton Reilly Holdings.
The same appeal was reported for the African-American Freedom Trail exhibit at Pier One by Port of San Francisco executive director Michelle Moyer in her report to the Port Commission Thursday. Deputy executive director Byron Rhett was among the dignitaries attending the festival Friday morning.
Supervisor Malia Cohen applauded Reilly for commissioning the statue. “This is really big,” she said. Cohen also took note of the participation of the Ebony Boat Club, California’s only African-American boaters group, based in Antioch, for its offer to share the experience of boating for local young people.
Past Commodore James Mack and Treasurer Otis Brock said their club is one of the more active in the state, winning awards during the annual Opening of the Bay events for their decorations.
The supervisor said such experiences should be available to constituents in her district which includes the longest shoreline in the city, but does not have docking facilities.
Sarah O’Neal Rush, great-granddaughter of Booker T. Washington, and Teresa Baker, founder of African-American National Parks Day, also underscored the importance of providing water experiences for young people. “It wasn’t until I was an adult that I understood the importance of Booker T. Washington and it literally changed my life,” said Rush. “That’s why I formed a foundation to give the same experience to youth.” She takes groups of youth on a tour that mirrors the important sites of Washington’s life.
Baker created the special event last year and is planning the second edition June 7-8, with a local focus on the Buffalo Soldier trail. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-CA, has introduced a bill to have the National Park Service study the creation of a trail between the Presidio and the national parks patrolled by the 9th and 10th Cavalry and 24th and 25th Regiments.
Cohen reiterated her support for the creation of an African-American Freedom Trail. She was presented with copies of the African-American Heritage Trail book for the District of Columbia and a National Gallery of Art booklet on the Shaw monument depicting the 54th Massachusetts Regiment.
Reilly also received the same tokens of appreciation for his patronage of the Leidesdorff sculpture.
In 1524, Esteban Gomez was the first Portuguese explorer to reach what is now the United States, including exploring the New York Harbor and Hudson River. Gomez a black sailor who was part of Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe. A 1529 map described the area from Nova Scotia to Virginia as Tierra de Esteban Gomez in his recognition. It’s part of the history explored today and Saturday during the Black Maritime Heritage Festival at 10 a.m. at Pier One and Saturday at 11 a.m. at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park Visitor Center, 499 Jefferson Street. A discussion of the African-American Freedom Trail takes place at 9:30 a.m. at First Unitarian Universalist Society, 1 Starr King Way.
Say Grace and Wipe Yo’ Hands: the BlackRestaurant.NET Guide to America’s Black Restaurants is an indispensible guide for travelers, and even for unexpected pleasures in your own home town. It’s the first national guide for the $6 billion African-American food industry, estimated by the National Restaurant Association, to have grown 188 percent from 1997 to 2007.
The release of the draft standards on diversity performance for regulated financial institutions has caused a number of interested organizations to assess how this policy would impact African-American communities. Those neighborhoods were damaged to the tune of $400 billion by the sub-prime mortgage crisis which led to Dodd-Frank and have failed to participate in the recovery.
The comments of Kleiner Perkins founder Tom Perkins have touched off a firestorm. It certainly caught the attention of Perkins’ collaborator in the 1960s at Hewlett Packard, Roy Clay Sr.
Just after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Hewlett Packard hired Clay away from Control Data, where he had been manager of Cobol and Fortran programming, to be manager of computer research and development. That made him the second ranking official to Tom Perkins, HP’s general manager for computers. Clay was the first HP employee at its complex in Cupertino, now being redeveloped as Apple Computer’s headquarters.
Clay, featured in the ReUNION: Education-Arts-Heritage documentary Freedom Riders of the Cutting Edge, had made the extraordinary journey from 1951 when he graduated with a degree in mathematics from St. Louis University and was told by McDonnell Aircraft, “We have no jobs for professional Negroes.”
Clay recalls his relationship with Perkins, “He and my late wife, Virginia, sponsored a surprise birthday party for me on August 22, 1969 in Edinburgh Scotland.
He designed, built and recently sold his 900 ft boat, and his private car collection. Perkins started Silicon Valley simply by bringing venture capital to entrepreneurs, and creating the IPO. The KPCB first fund generated a return of 100 to 1. It
started when Bill Hewlett demanded that I cancel an order from Holiday Inns Hotel, and that I terminate the project that became Tandem Computers, later Compac Computer, which HP bought for $20 Billion at Perkins urging.
In 1971. Perkins left HP shortly after I did and urged me to join him at KPCB to start Tandem. Perkins showed great respect for me because of my success at HP under his domain. His letter to WSJ possibly reflects my difference with
Since 1977, Clay has operated Rod-L Electronics, a company which builds electronic test equipment. He has insisted on manufacturing in Silicon Valley, following the HP Way that Hewlett and Packard instilled. A long-lasting relationship with Jobs West in Menlo Park meant that dozens of residents of East Palo Alto gained an entry into the high technology industry by working in Rod-L’s factories.
It is a model which is coming into new favor as President Obama and others call for more manufacturing jobs in the United States.
More from Clay, who is working on his memoirs: “Tom Perkins is in the news which prompts me to send the folllowing notes which I am covering in my book as I talk about my life with Hewlett-Packard. We met at HP in 1966.
I saw Tom Perkins as a winner, because everything he touched became an unbelievable success, from collecting luxury automobiles to building the biggest boats. We sometimes disagreed with each other but remained respectful.
Some of the things I will always remember are: (1) Tom and Virginia hosted my 40th birthday party in Edinburgh, Scotland; a great surprise.
(2) Tom was my big supporter at HP, including recommending to Bill Hewlett that I succeed him as General Manager of the Computer Division.
(3)Tom resigned from HP, following my resignation, to form Kleiner Perkins
Caufield and Byers. He then came to me seeking assistance in forming Tandem
Computers Inc, the IPO which marked the beginning of Silicon Valley because
of its success. Tandem was a project that I initiated at HP but Bill
Hewlett demanded that I terminate.
However, HP bought the project 31 years later in the $20 Billion acquisition of COMPAQ COMPUTER CORPORATION.
(4) Tom asked me to meet with Bob Noyce of Intel to evaluate his invention of the
8080 microchip. Intel followed my recomendation to sell the chip for making
personal computers and a miriad of today’s products. Noyce died at 45 years
of age, before he would certainly received a Nobel prize in physics. Tom
asked me to meet an entrepeneur to evaluate his prototype personal computer.
I recommended that KPCB invest in what became COMPAQ COMPUTER CORPORATION.
(6) Tom invited me to a private dinner with then President Gerald Ford, at the Metropolitan Club in San Francisco.
(7) Most importantly, Tom contacted me to offer
Genentech cancer fighting drugs when he learned that Virginia had been
diagnosed with breast cancer.”
Ben’s Chili Bowl is landing at Reagan National Airport, the latest advance for the legendary U Street eatery founded in 1958. Co-founder Mrs. Virginia Ali gave us an exclusive interview for the new edition of Say Grace and Wipe Yo’ Hands: BlackRestaurant.NET’s Guide to America’s Black Restaurants.
GARYSBURG, NC –510Nano founder Dr. Reginald Parker assured Energy Dept. and Senate staff that a Northampton County former cotton field will soon power hundreds of homes.
He spoke to 80 guests at the groundbreaking of the company’s REPP1 solar farm, which will sell its electricity under a 15-year power participation agreement with Dominion Power North Carolina.
Parker, a veteran engineer with graduate degrees from Georgia Tech and MIT, said the project shows how technology can revive rural and some urban communities by bringing 30 construction jobs.
The dignitaries included the Honorable Dot Harris, the Director of US Department of Energy’s Office of Office of Economic Impact and Diversity; Betty Jo Shepheard from US Senator Richard Burr’s Office; Michael Jones from US Senator Kay Hagan’s Office; Reginald Speight from US Representative G. K. Butterfield’s Office; Northampton Commissioner Chair Robert Carter; Northampton Vice Chair Fannie P. Greene; and Northampton NAACP President Bennet M. Taylor.
510 REPP One is a 1.4 MW renewable energy power plant. It was designed to use 5,490 panels to generate over 1.8 million kWh. The power plant is situated on 6 acres and will be enough energy for 420 homes. The project expects to deliver 30 construction jobs. Over the next 18 months, 510nano plans to follow this project with several others to total 25 MW of solar energy.
STATESVILLE, N.C. — Less than a decade after the Woolworth sit-ins, my mother drove across North Carolina to deliver a birthday cake to my older brother’s dorm room at Duke University, left it and turned back around. It was still waiting for him the next morning and 40 years later at a reunion, he was remembered as the student whose mother brought him a birthday cake.
When the Black Students Union took over a building and she couldn’t reach him, she dispatched a delegation of five Presbyterian ministers to the campus to find him.
My brother and sisters were sharing why we considered her a virtuous woman as we sat in her hospice room in our hometown Saturday. Although she never opened her eyes, the doctor and attendants assured us she could hear every word we said. Because her faith was one of the most important legacies, it was part of a worship service.
Order was another important legacy. We ate dinner at five o’clock every day in assigned seats throughout our entire childhood.
Documentation was extremely important, recalled my younger sister. She kept a record of everything and insisted that we participate in any worthwhile activity. Would we leave for some place and not arrive, her extensive network would alert her.
Even to this day, we are defined by her example as a high school valedictorian in the 1940s. When my older sister ran for the leadership of the regional real estate organization, a childhood friend described her as “one of those smart Templetons from Statesville.”
My brother said, “I always knew I could go anywhere, do anything and compete with anybody.” She had a way of inspiring big goals. At age five, I calmly sat in a porch seat with my grandfather and explained in 1960 how I would get elected president in 1992 after first becoming governor of North Carolina and senator. For the rest of his life, he callled me “Senator.”
Evoking a combination of respect and fear despite never cursing or even raising her voice, she taught us that nothing was more important than character. Because she relied on the facts, she was relentless and unyielding in a fight, most especially for our late younger brother during a 40-year battle with the mental health establishment. He was autistic and did not use language in a conventional way. But she knew his inmost thoughts and devoted her life to caring for him.
Rather than respecting that connection, the research establishment made him the victim of a number of misguided experiments and he tragically lost his life when police responded to an ambulance call and took him to a jail instead of a hospital. As soon as it became known that it was her son, the entire community rallied behind her. A Superior Court judge became an advocate to create a new law requiring all law enforcement personnel be trained in how to respond to the autistic and the N.C. Autism Foundation create an award in my younger brother’s name.
An awestruck local NAACP branch president watched events unfold and every time he saw me over several days, said, “I shore like the way you all handle your business.”
So we turned to Proverbs 31:10-31 and I Timothy 2:9-10 so that we could let her know what we had learned from her. The physician explained that our society has lost touch with the natural dying process, which occurs for 80 per cent of all deaths and can take one to two years. Less technological societies have rituals to incorporate that natural process, but we have been misled by soap operas and movies to expect that modern medicine can stop death in all cases.
However the physical body which had seemed ageless into her eighth decade had been on a steady decline since three strokes in 2008. I was told to bring a black suit back then, but had the joy of sitting in her hospital room on Election Night 2008 and reminding her to vote absentee again in 2012 for America’s first black president.
After the benediction, the assistant told us she didn’t expect any changes so we left for the day. About six hours later, we received a call to return to hospice, driving back from Charlotte in the rain. We made it just in time to embrace her for her last breaths. Rev. Tim Bates of our home church, Calvary Presbyterian, came out to comfort us as we waited for the funeral home to pick her up.
He officiates at her memorial on Wednesday, Jan. 8, which would have been her 89th birthday, at 2 p.m. at Calvary 500 S. Green St. in Statesville.
SAN FRANCISCO — While many affluent newcomers take potshots at the residents of the mid-Market area, baker John Akins has done business by making their lives better.
After more than a decade and a half in the UN Plaza Heart of the City Farmers Market, Akins has signed a seven-year lease to open FoodPlus in the former Manor House at 210 Turk St. It is his second sit-down restaurant.
Akins has operated Cafe Golo in the Marina district for six years at 1602 Lombard St. The University of Utah alum and ex-Marriott manager has blended into mid-Market since becoming the first non-farmer vendor on U.N. Plaza. “I’ve never looked down on the people who live and work here, whether they’re a federal judge or someone looking for a job. Everyone needs to eat and I’m here to serve them.”
Alemany Market was Akins’ launching pad for his artisan baked goods. He did both Alemany and UN Plaza for a decade before opening Cafe Golo, an instant and consistent hit for breakfast and lunch in the Marina.
FoodPlus, as designed with landlord Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp. , meets the needs of residents in a “food desert,” with limited options for fresh and healthy foods. Akins has used the produce from his fellow farmers market vendors for his entire career and plans to provide additional vegetables and fruit so that patrons can get the produce between markets. Another distinctive feature will be designated time and space for social workers, parole officers and other professionals to meet with residences in a comfortable dining setting as opposed to institutional settings.
Customers will also be able to get meal plans, so that they will have guaranteed access to healthy meals.
Akins has even more ideas for making the eatery a neighborhood asset. He plans to provide cooking lessons to nearby after-school programs and hire as many local residents as possible. It is a model he thinks will work in other food deserts. Some of his long-time customers are providing seed funding for the eatery.
Helping Akins design the business plan and format was Ibis Partners chief economist John William Templeton, founder of blackrestaurant.net. Templeton coordinated the Harvest Pantry Ministry jointly for St. John’s Presbyterian Church and Congregation Emanu’El in the inner Richmond for three years until recently. He found it was much more like running a supermarket than he expected. “Although the food is free, individual items need to be marketed and customer choice has to be taken into account.” That experience went into designing menus for the new venue.
Akins begins renovation after the holidays and expects to open FoodPlus early in 2014.
Northwestern University assistant professor of history Dr. Jasmine Johnson had an immediate brilliant thought when she saw the African-American Freedom Trail brochure. She would take her niece Gina Raye Levexier to see all of the 49 locations highlighted.
KPOO-FM Board Chair Terry Collins was similarly animated. “We’re going to let everybody know about this on the station, ” he promised.
To promote the idea of taking children to witness history, we encourage going to the Visitor Information Center to pick up a copy; then tweet your photos of the sites, including at least one photo at Marcus Books, 1712 Fillmore St. to blkbizmonth and californiablackhistory.com will send a Wizard of Califia certificate to the young person who takes that journey.
The African-American Freedom Trail brochure can be found in the Visitor Information Center at Powell and Market Streets in San Francisco adjacent to the cable car turnaround. Include African-American businesses and historic sites in your holiday travels to San Francisco with this informative guide. For more details, visit californiablackhistory.com for the book Come to the Water: Sharing the Rich Black Experience in San Francisco.