by Rochelle Metcalfe
IT’S that time again! Saturday, March 7, come out and eat, play, shop and dance in the warmth of the Bayview in celebration of the 35th Annual BLACK CUISINE Community Festival at the Bayview Hunters Point Multipurpose Senior Center on Yosemite at Third Street! Action starts at 11 a.m.! The Bayview Community Voices Choir, directed by MAESTRO CURTIS, will start the day in spiritual songs. A stellar entertainment lineup of bands that include JUAN ESCOVEDO and Family, JAYE and Friends, LORETTA GOODEN and more. LOOK FOR ME!!!
SHOUT OUT to the owners of Third Street’s OLDEST EATERY, CROWN BURGERS, next door to Sam Jordan’s, CLOSED several weeks. GOOD NEWS, BACK serving those delicious quarter pounders!
When one business closes, another opens: The AFRICAN OUTLET (formerly Wendy’s Bakery), Third and Quesada, RELOCATED from Hayes and Octavia – WHEW, they have a lot of African artifacts! … LADIES, check out the NEW dress boutique, JOY GALLERY, 3rd near Palou, former site of famous designer Lenora LaVon Riley’s fashion boutique. Stopped in just before deadline to look around and meet MS. HEATHER, FINALLY! There’s a NEW restaurant, “SIMPLY DELISH BISTRO,” within the ground floor retail space at Armstrong Place, 5600 3rd Street, delicious THAI and American foods served!
STOP THE VIOLENCE! Earlier this year, a heart wrenching crime on THREE STREET! A mother shot in front of her kids in broad daylight – an innocent bystander caught in the line of fire between two dueling forces! District SUPERVISOR MALIA COHEN made an appearance at the S.F. Police Commission meeting, as did other residents who expressed their fears over shootings in the neighborhood. Supervisor Cohen urged the commission and Bayview police force to come together regularly with the community to resolve the violence problem.
MARCH CELEBRATES WOMEN ACHIEVEMENTS AND LEADERSHIP! GWENDOLYN WESTBROOK will be among several women HONORED by the San Francisco National Coalition of 100 Black Women (NCBW), March 14, at their annual “Hats and Gloves Tea Luncheon” at the San Francisco Fairmont Hotel. CEO, United Council of Human Services, Westbrook overseers MOTHER BROWN’S Kitchen, located in the Bayview, two hot meals served daily to the homeless. CONGRATULATIONS, LADY!
The evening of Friday, Feb. 20, honored to be the keynote speaker at the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society’s Black History Exhibit Opening and Reception, at the Society’s headquarters on Fulton Street. 2015 celebrates the Society’s 60th anniversary, that embraced the theme, “A Century of Black Life, History and Culture: 1915-2015.” BILL HOSKINS, Executive Director and Curator, AL WILLIAMS, President and Chair, Black History Committee. Delightful member ELDORIS CAMERON invited me to be the speaker!
One who has had her pulse on the Black community, in particular, started when I first arrived to San Francisco in January 1959. Then 1976 when penning the column “I Heard That” until 2007, featured in the Sun Reporter newspaper, and over a year writing this column in the Bay View newspaper, and other freelance endeavors.
Felt very much at ease, comfortable talking about SF Fillmore and Divisadero and the LEGENDARY QUEEN, LEOLA KING, AN ICON who passed Feb. 3 in Palm Springs, where she and her son, TONY TAYLOR, moved in 2010. Her HOMEGOING Feb. 13 in the heart of the Fillmore at Third Baptist Church, passionately eulogized by REV. AMOS BROWN. She was 96. This writer, ONE of the DESIGNATED speakers who expressed remarks, along with DA MAYOR, WILLIE BROWN JR. and S.F. Sheriff ROSS MIRKARIMI.
GOLDIE, as she was affectionately called by her son, TONY TAYLOR, and friends, was the name of her LAST nightclub when located on Post Street, across Van Ness. She was one of the FIRST WOMEN OF COLOR to own a nightclub and to build a real estate empire in the Bay Area. She was a fixture in the Fillmore district and contributed greatly to it being the “Harlem of the West” (major book on the Fillmore by Lewis Watts and Elizabeth Pepin). She lived in the Fillmore until 2010; failing health caused her to move to Palm Springs with her son, who lovingly cared for her until the end. She will be remembered.
When talking about STRONG WOMEN, LEOLA KING was a PHENOMENAL WOMAN! Independent, a fighter, bold, daring – a beautiful lady! This writer admired her stamina and savvy! She was FAAABULOUS, STUNNING! The Queen turned heads when she entered a room, divine in her furs, jewelry, famous outfits that fitted her style and personality!
Born in Seminole County, Oklahoma, on Jan. 20, 1919, Leola spent her youth in Los Angeles – moved to San Francisco in 1946, opened her famous BLUE MIRROR club in 1953 on Fillmore Street near McAllister, spotlighted musicians like Nat “King” Cole, Dinah Washington, Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughn, local artists Bobby Webb, Saunders King. Monday nights Earl Grant would fly up from LA, Peter Rabbitt from Sacramento – my husband and I would go on Monday nights to see Grant (lived around the corner on Steiner, one block off Fillmore).
When one thinks of the FILLMORE (WESTERN ADDITION) back in the day – LEOLA KING has to be part of the conversation! GENTRIFICATION caused her to lose her property – she lost the most due to REDEVELOPMENT of the area! Like others, she received a voucher (promise of a return to the area) – many could not afford to wait 10 years or more! A survivor, LEOLA KING, could – she had the fight and money to hang on, BUT still did not get a piece of the action in the NEW FILLMORE – did not get restitution! Heartbroken, but she fought the agency with all her might to no avail.
October 2005 GROUNDbreaking and construction began to build the JAZZ HERITAGE CENTER, that included Yoshi’s, starting at corner of Eddy and Fillmore. GRAND CELEBRATION November 2007. Leola dreamed of REOPENING THE BLUE MIRROR; angry when she heard the name would be used for a restaurant in the Heritage Jazz Center WITHOUT HER PERMISSION OR CONSULTATION, THREATENED A LAWSUIT, UNDERSTAND THE OWNERS DID NOT WANT THE CONTROVERSY AND INSTEAD CALLED IT 1300 ON FILLMORE!
I REMEMBER the BULLDOZERS that destroyed a community! The development of the NEW FILLMORE displaced Black families! After 10 years of completion, the NEW FILLMORE IS GONE as Blacks would have dreamed it to be – a NEW RENAISSANCE – YOSHI’S (ADDITION) CLOSED, JAZZ DARKENED; even the legendary Chicago Barber Shop gone, Rasselas sold, and BLACK MIGRATION CONTINUES!!!
BAYVIEW HUNTERS POINT ON THE RISE, THE LAST BASTION FOR BLACK FOLKS, BUT WILL WE BE ABLE TO HOLD ON???
HEY, IT’S NICE TO BE NICE AND TO ALL OF YOU OUT THERE … LOOK FOR ME … I’LL BE THERE …
E-mail Rochelle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘I Heard That’ historian Rochelle Metcalfe keynotes ‘A Century of Black Life, History and Culture in San Francisco’
by Eldoris Cameron, San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society
Rochelle Metcalfe, noted journalist, “wowed” guests at the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society’s Black History Month opening exhibit and reception, “A Century of Black Life, History and Culture in San Francisco,” at 762 Fulton St. at 6 p.m. on Feb. 20.
She related her 32 years at the Sun Reporter newspaper, starting under the late Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett as a typesetter and then as a writer about the “everyday man.” She enumerated the Fillmore venues that were once so popular and talked about the restaurants, stores and the contributions of the late Leola King, “Queen of Fillmore.”
A “call and response” ensued as guests joined Ms. Metcalfe in “walking down memory lane,” recalling people, places and events that took place in the Black community now lost but, hopefully, never forgotten.
Guests showed their appreciation with a standing ovation, a tribute to a true San Francisco legend.
BayView newspaper is fortunate to have Rochelle Metcalfe as “Third Street Stroll” columnist.
Rochelle Metcalfe’s wish is to donate her archives to the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society.
The San Francisco African American Historical & Cultural Society can be reached by emailing Al Williams at email@example.com.