“It is written that a little child shall lead them”

At just 18 years old, Tamam Traci Moncur was the on-scene commander of a campaign to end job segregation in San Francisco's hotel industry.  She led 900 demonstrators into the Sheraton Palace Hotel and by the next morning had an agreement by all 35 hotels to hire fairly.
At just 18 years old, Tamam Traci Moncur was the on-scene commander of a campaign to end job segregation in San Francisco’s hotel industry. She led 900 demonstrators into the Sheraton Palace Hotel and by the next morning had an agreement by all 35 hotels to hire fairly.
SAN FRANCISCO — The teenagers who brought San Francisco to its knees for 18 months in 1963-64, with the help of professionals who put their academic and business careers on the line, come back into focus in Students and Scholars Marching for Civil Rights: the 50th anniversary of the United San Francisco Freedom Movement.
John William Templeton, curator of the exhibit, does a public walkthrough on Saturday, Aug. 24 at the Holiday Inn-Civic Center, the first of several member properties of the Hotel Council of San Francisco to host the historical display, at 1 p.m.
Andy Duymovic, general manager of the Holiday Inn-Civic Center, told his staff during a sneak preview of the exhibition: “Holiday Inn Civic Center is honored to host the Students and Scholars Marching for Civil Rights: The 50th Anniversary of the San Francisco Freedom Movement exhibit. We invite you to join us in recognizing the progressive and rich civil rights history of our very own beloved city of San Francisco . We feel privileged to have the opportunity to participate!” 
Templeton, author of Come to the Water: Sharing the Rich Black Experience in San Francisco and Our Roots Run Deep: the Black Experience in California, presents the third in his exhibition trilogy Year of Jubilee with the sponsorship of ParkSFO, HCA and Associates CPA, Holiday Inn Civic Center, Rasselas Jazz Club, Sheba Piano Lounge, Cafe Golo and ReUNION: Education-Arts-Heritage. Hotel Council executive director Kevin Carroll and Mike Casey, president of Local 2, Unite Here and chair of the San Francisco Labor Council, put their personal backing behind the project.
More than 10,000 persons of all races participated in an unprecedented set of almost daily civil disobedience events designed to end employment discrimination in San Francisco, but a Hastings law student and Marine veteran, 21-year-old Bill Bradley Jr. and recent Berkeley High School graduate, 18-year-old Tracy Sims, emerged as the leaders and media spokespersons along with UC-SF professor Dr. T. Nathaniel Burbridge.
San Francisco Sun Reporter publisher Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett gave the two of them the paper’s civic award in 1963, saying, “We have been waiting for you for a long time.  You have accomplished more in two weeks than our methods have accomplished in 15 years.”
Assemblyman W. Byron Rumford, D-Berkeley, said of Sims, “It is written that a little child shall lead them.”
Bradley is San Francisco State professor emeritus Dr. Oba T’Shaka, who taught for 38 years at the university; and Sims is Tamam Traci Moncur, an elementary school teacher for more than 20 years in Newark, N.J. who also recently retired.
All three were jailed, but 600 employment agreements were signed by employers, including national agreements with the Big Three automakers.  How they were so successful, even before the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, comes through the pictures and artifacts in Students and Scholars.
Other key figures featured are Mrs. Ardith Nichols, leader of the Crispus Attucks Clubs in Bayview/Hunters Point; Wil Ussery, chair of the National Action Committee of the Congress of Racial Equality; Rev. T.R. Provost, president of the Baptist Ministers Alliance, John Handy, jazz musician and vice president of the local chapter of CORE; Ray Taliaferro, public relations chair of the San Francisco NAACP and lawyers for the demonstrators, Willie L. Brown Jr., Patrick Hallinan and Terry Francois plus young politician John Burton and Mayor John Shelley.
Students and Scholars remains at the Holiday Inn-Civic Center through Sept. 15 and goes to the Fairmont San Francisco through Oct. 15, including a screening of a film on the Freedom Movement during the seventh annual Preserving California Black Heritage conference Sept. 21-22.
Significant sites during the campaign are part of the proposed African-American Freedom Trail, a set of historic sites transcending the Underground Railroad through the civil rights era.  Templeton is principal investigator for the  context statement for the trail.  Similar trails exist in 20 states, including Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Maryland.
Students and Scholars is part of a six week narrative curriculum unit on ReUNION: Education-Arts-Heritage, the African-American instructional network.
 
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