1966 Hunters Point Uprising and other tales of ‘San Francisco’s Last Black Neighborhood’

‘Bay View Hunter’s Point: San Francisco’s Last Black Neighborhood?’: Five fascinating videos by Dante Higgins

Andante-Higgins1, 1966 Hunters Point Uprising and other tales of 'San Francisco's Last Black Neighborhood', Videos Andante Higgins produced this documentary, “Bay View Hunter’s Point: San Francisco’s Last Black Neighborhood?” in 2004, featuring commentary by SF Bay View publisher Willie Ratcliff and other residents familiar to Bay View readers. Part 3 tells the story of the 1966 Hunters Point Uprising, the second major U.S. “riot” in the ‘60s after Watts in Los Angeles.

Rare photos and film footage bring to life a rebellion sparked by the police murder of 16-year-old Matthew Johnson in September 1966. The community’s mostly peaceful protest was put down by National Guard tanks and San Francisco police sharpshooters in firing squad formation shooting at children.

Though the rebellion was the top news story nationally when it happened, the military-style repression so traumatized the community that telling the story became taboo. Oldtimers remember it vividly but hold it secretly in their hearts, and few among the generations born since have heard much about it. Dante’s skillful and sensitive research and reporting is an important contribution to community healing and re-empowerment.

Dante Higgins, a San Francisco native, has worked in television news for over eight years with the last five years in network news in New York City. Before moving into journalism, he worked in non-profits serving “youth at risk” at the Breakthrough Foundation and at Potrero Hill Neighborhood House. He was also appointed to the Delinquency Prevention Commission by San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano and served as the commission’s youngest president ever.

Dante majored in television production at Clark Atlanta University. After spending time at CNN, V-103 radio and The Weather Channel, he returned to California to attend UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he reported on an array of stories for both print and television. He developed a passion for covering issues like economic justice and health disparities and produced a series on HIV/AIDS in the African-American community as well as “Bay View Hunter’s Point: San Francisco’s Last Black Neighborhood?”

Dante can be reached at andantehiggins@yahoo.com. Visit his website, www.andantehiggins.com.

Part 1

[Introductions to each part are written by Dante Higgins. – ed] Hunters Point is named after the Hunter brothers, who arrived here in 1849 in hopes of developing the area. Watch to learn more on the history of this area, and watch how Bay View became a Black neighborhood. The area served America well in World War II with the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.

Part 2

See how urban renewal of the 1950s and ’60s pushed Black residents from the Fillmore district to Bay View. The Sanders family has lived here for generations and come together for a birthday.

Part 3

In September of 1966 BVHP explodes with outrage over the police shooting of young resident Matthew Johnson. The situation escalates quickly into a full-fledged race riot lasting several days.

Part 4

Environmental hazards abound in BVHP and asthma and breast cancer rates are high. Come along as community members tour toxic sites and march against police brutality.

Part 5

BVHP undergoes redevelopment. Will it remain a Black neighborhood?

Dante Higgins

Young journalist in action