S.F. Black Heritage Tours begin today

The world’s number one attraction has a brand new magnet for tourists and residents –– S.F. Black Heritage Tours.

Historian John William Templeton brings the same mastery of the city’s vast African-American heritage that he has provided for major conventions like the American Library Association, American Bar Association, National School Boards Association  and American Educational Research Association in three tour circuits provided by reservation daily.

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The site for information and reservation is http://www.africanamericansf.info.

Group visits to such attractions as the King Tut exhibition at the DeYoung Museum are also available.

To learn more about the tours, one can also hear Templeton speak Friday, Nov. 6 to the San Francisco Alliance of Black School Educators at 5 p.m. in the Willie Brown College Prep Academy, 2055 Silver Ave. or call 415-240-3537.

Standard tour rates are $45 including a copy of Come to the Water: Sharing the Rich Black Experience in San Francisco., the indispensible guide to all aspects of black life in San Francisco, including churches, restaurants, historic sites and merchants.

Templeton curated JazzGenesis: San Francisco and the Birth of Jazz, currently on display in the Visitor Information Center of the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Gold Rush Abolitionists: the California Movement to Emancipation. Those eras of history are featured in one circuit through the Financial District of San Francisco, where the African-American community was concentrated in the 19th century.

The third Preserving California Black Heritage conference, Bayview’s Last  Stand, last month, highlighted the historic black neighborhood of Bayview/Hunters Point.  S.F. Black Heritage Tours begins the first regularly scheduled tours of the neighborhood, home to the some of the oldest pre-1906 earthquake churches, residences and commercial buildings in the city.

Templeton is also principal investigator of the Invisible Pioneers context statement on the history of African-Americans in San Francisco, having documented a number of previously unrecognized historic sites in the Western Addition stretching from Market Street up to Sacramento Street.  One of his sources was the 1929 membership list of the new San Francisco branch of the NAACP.  More than 200 of those addresses still stand in the area between Post and Sacramento Streets.

For background on these sites, the four-volume reference Our Roots Run Deep: the Black Experience in California, Vols. 1-4, gives a context for the central role of African-Americans in California from the 1500s to present.

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