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There was a whole lot of shaking going on Saturday, Feb. 16. The Fillmore Heritage Center Equity Partners are causing the ground to shake with the ongoing success of the events they are giving. This last event shook the entire Bay Area with the soulful sounds of Tony! Toni! Tone! during two packed shows.
Dedicated to ensuring the historic Fillmore neighborhood has an economic and cultural anchor to call its own, District Five Supervisor Vallie Brown and a group of nonprofit and African American community leaders have initiated a collaborative campaign to reactivate the Fillmore Heritage Center. Beginning Nov. 5, the collaborative is offering live music, community events, and housing and financial empowerment workshops at the former Yoshi’s site.
From May through August, three floors of black and white jazz photographs are on display at the African American Art & Culture Complex. They depict Harlem of the West, the San Francisco Fillmore jazz era that was bustling from the 1930s through the 1950s. Jazz was “king” and the Fillmore music scene was alive and flowing from end to end in the African American community.
Now, as the San Francisco Bay View newspaper’s 40th birthday year comes to a close, is the time to bring up to date the historical sketch of our paper that I began with Part 1 in the January paper. Piles of old papers rest on my desk, waiting to be read once again – a banquet of stories and pictures of our lives, our hopes, our goals. Let me let you taste the flavor of the freedom we continue to fight for in the age of Trump.
The Fillmore Heritage Center, considered to be the last vestige of Black culture in the Fillmore District, once known as the “Harlem of the West,” has been put up for sale. The Request for Proposals (RFP) by the City and County of San Francisco was issued on Feb. 10, 2017. The property, located at Fillmore and Eddy Streets, previously housed Yoshi’s San Francisco restaurant, Yoshi’s Jazz Club, the 1300 Restaurant, a jazz art gallery and a theater. The minimum bid is $6.5 million.
We are pleased to announce an event on Aug. 16, 2016, to celebrate the union of Marcus Books and the African American Arts and Culture Complex (AAACC) in the Fillmore District of San Francisco. Over the past few months, Marcus Books and the AAACC have been collaborating on the details of their new partnership which will manifest as a bookstore within the first floor lobby of the complex. The event, to be held Tuesday, Aug. 16, 6-9 p.m., on the first floor of the AAACC, is meant to share the exciting plans with the community.
In three days, Iris Canada turns 100. Did you expect to live this long? Did you imagine bearing witness to the Black community’s dwindling to 3 percent of the population of San Francisco? In your dreams, did you think that your building would be sold and that you would have to endure an Ellis Act eviction whose sole aim was to extricate you from your home? Iris, with a voice so soft – tell me.
Although Bayview Hunters Point is one of the most beautiful Black communities in California, it is also one of the most toxic places in the country due to the radiation experiments that took place on the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in the ‘40s and many other generators of deadly toxins, most of them government owned. Dr. Ray Tompkins, a historian and a scientific expert on the pollution in Bayview Hunters Point, gives an in-depth interview. Check him out in his own words.
The featured front page story in the Feb. 18 San Francisco Chronicle begins, “The St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church, a uniquely San Franciscan storefront ministry dedicated to the music and preachings of the soulful sax man, is facing eviction and may be gone as soon as Sunday’s sermon ends. Let your voice be heard by signing the petition in full support of the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church remaining in the West Bay Conference Center.”
On Friday night, Jan. 15, many young people gathered outside of the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church for the start of the “Reclaim MLK” weekend, a 96-hour action dedicated to non-violent protest against police terrorism and gentrification. During rush hour, “Reclaim MLK” protesters shut down the major intersection of Geary at Webster in the Fillmore, once San Francisco’s Black heartland.
Among the crowd of 150 activists were four young people holding a sign that simply read, “Last 3 Percent.” The words refer not directly to police violence but to the broader problem of the mass exodus of African Americans from San Francisco. Thousands have left their city of birth not because of any personal preference but because of political decisions and economic policies, many set into motion several decades ago.
You are invited to the opening reception on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2-4 p.m., in the African American Center of the San Francisco Main Library of “I Am San Francisco,” a major exhibit that tells the personal stories of Black San Franciscans at a time when the Black population has been almost entirely forced out and includes a display of historic copies of the San Francisco Bay View, back to 1994, with the headline “We Shall Not Be Moved.”
On a cold Tuesday evening, Sept. 15, Midtown residents along with their allies from labor unions, UC Berkeley, Boalt School of Law, The Plaza 16 Coalition, Calle 24 and tenants’ rights advocates gathered outside of the San Francisco Rent Board eagerly awaiting the appeal hearing. The decision was to be made on the rent control status of 65 long-term Fillmore District families who face immediate rent increases ranging from 30 percent to 300 percent.
This interview was broadcast live on Aug. 18, 2015, on Terry Collins’ show, The Spirit of Joe Rudolph. Terry Collins: A lot of people around here are definitely in deep mourning for the murder of Hugo Pinell on the 12th of August, this month. From my correspondence with him over the past three or four years, I know he was a person full of love. Kiilu Nyasha: If there was one word that could describe Yogi Bear, it would be love.
Third Baptist Church in San Francisco asked a San Francisco Superior Court judge today to stop the landlord of the Frederick Douglass Haynes Gardens – a 104-unit Fillmore development that is home to mostly Section 8 tenants – from selling the building to speculators. The temporary restraining order request asks a judge to provide injunctive relief against what appears to be another case of affordable housing at risk in San Francisco.
On Monday, June 29, over a hundred working class families of Midtown Park Apartments were joined by community activists, concerned citizens and legal advisors for a rally in support of over 55 households whose rent increased 300 percent. The only such property that is owned by the City, Midtown’s original intent by then Supervisors Diane Feinstein and Ella Hill Hutch was to transform this complex into an equity cooperative – a promise that never materialized.
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. 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.
Leola King brought memorable class and dignity to every business she operated during a 50-year career in San Francisco. Most of the Black people here now know nothing positive of what it was like to walk and live amongst the greatness we had created there on Fillmore Street. Redevelopment viciously undermined and ripped Mrs. King’s fortune away. Her funeral is Friday, Feb. 13, 11 a.m., at Third Baptist Church, 1399 McAllister, the repast 4-7 p.m. at West Bay Conference Center, 1290 Fillmore St., San Francisco.
Khayrishi Wiginton, a youth leadership coordinator at McClymonds High School in West Oakland, is fundraising and organizing a trip to South Africa with her students. Many of us do not know the power that travelling outside of the country has on fertile minds. I hope that Block Report Radio listeners and SF Bay View readers will assist these inner-city students and adults in completing their quest. Here is Khayrishi in her own words.
The Addition, formerly Yoshi’s, closed its doors, 77 people lost their jobs and many will wind up on unemployment. Gussie’s, the Black soul food restaurant diagonally across the street, left a couple of months ago. Rassellas Jazz Club up the street on Fillmore is gone. Will the Fillmore, once rivaled only by Harlem with its 31 restaurants and jazz clubs, die? The City did this! The question is: Did the City do enough to rectify its mistakes?
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