Jose LaCrosby, stylist to the stars, entrepreneur extraordinaire

 

Black Homes Matter Memorial Rally to honor Mr. Jose La Crosby’s legacy Wednesday, Feb. 10, 4-5 p.m., at Mercy Housing, 1360 Mission St., San Francisco – details below

by the Midtown Tenants        

Mr. Jose LaCrosby, a nationally-recognized African-American hairdresser in San Francisco, passed away on Jan. 29, 2016, in hospice care at the San Francisco VA Hospital. He was 89 years old. He is survived by his son and daughter, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Mr. LaCrosby lived in the Fillmore-Western Addition for 58 years.

Mr. Jose LaCrosby sits in his shop. He was in business 57 years. – Photo: Olivia Wright
Mr. Jose LaCrosby sits in his shop. He was in business 57 years. – Photo: Olivia Wright

Featured in a San Francisco Chronicle article about the Western Addition, Mr. LaCrosby referred to his neighborhood as having been “a slice of heaven” and saying, “I wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else.”

“I found my roots when I came here,” he said. “I had a beauty shop on the corner of Geary and Divisadero for 25 years.” When he retired, he had been in business for 57 years.

At the height of Mr. LaCrosby’s career, he ran five salons and two beauty supply stores, including one in Berkeley. He eventually went on to innovate new hair styling techniques that became known and replicated nationally.

In the 1950s, Mr. LaCrosby opened a hair salon on Presidio and Sacramento in Pacific Heights, now one of San Francisco’s more expensive commercial neighborhoods. Mr. LaCrosby recalled that all of the neighboring businesses at that time were also owned and operated by Black San Franciscans.

In his career as one of San Francisco’s premier African-American hairdressers, Mr. LaCrosby counted several “Harlem of the West” jazz luminaires and their wives as his clients. They included Nina Simone, Mahaliah Jackson, Mrs. Thelonious Monk, Mrs. Miles Davis, as well as other famed Black musicians like James Brown, Eartha Kitt and Little Richard.

Last month, the Korean Consulate presented Mr. LaCrosby with a medal for his service in the Korean War.

Featured in a San Francisco Chronicle article about the Western Addition, Mr. LaCrosby referred to his neighborhood as having been “a slice of heaven” and saying, “I wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else.”

Mr. LaCrosby’s salon on Geary and Divisadero Street was leveled during San Francisco’s civic redevelopment program, which targeted, among others, his Fillmore-Western Addition neighborhood. Mr. LaCrosby would later move into the Midtown Park Apartments, created as relocation housing for those who lost their homes during redevelopment.

Midtown was his home for over 20 years, and he was well loved in his community there. Residents regret that Mr. LaCrosby was not permitted to return home in his final days because Midtown’s property manager would not grant Mr. LaCrosby a ground-floor apartment, which his doctors had required as a condition of discharge.

Midtown was his home for over 20 years, and he was well loved in his community there.

His memorial services will be at the Third Baptist Church at 1399 McAllister. Details to be announced. Call the Midtown Tenant Hotline for more information: 415‐915‐1155.

Midtown Tenants can also be reached by email at info@savemidtown.org.

Black Homes Matter Memorial Rally to honor Mr. Jose La Crosby’s legacy

Of the 139 Fillmore-Western Addition families slated to lose their homes in an apartment complex demolition, a large number are victims of redevelopment. They were promised ownership upon paying off the property’s mortgage, but the City went back on its promise, awarding the master lease to Mercy California instead.

Mr. Jose LaCrosby poses proudly outside his shop. – Photo: Olivia Wright
Mr. Jose LaCrosby poses proudly outside his shop. – Photo: Olivia Wright

For the last 24 months, tenants have suffered egregious grievances, lost their security personnel, had their cars towed, their rent went up 200 percent and units were entered illegally by Mercy California staff.

A pillar of the Fillmore community and a San Francisco icon, master hair weaver and stylist to the stars, Jose LaCrosby has passed in a distant VA hospital, unable to spend the last days with his friends and family. Mercy California for months refused to allow him a move to a ground floor apartment as mandated by Mr. La Crosby’s doctor.

Tenants officially gave Mercy California a vote of no confidence and are asking that Mercy California removes itself as a property manager, project manager and a master lessee.

WE DEMAND:

  • Mercy Housing: Terminate your contract as property manager of Midtown Park Apartments.
  • San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing: Honor the tenants’ demand for self-determination over their homes. Keep the promises you made to the long-term residents of Midtown for equity homeownership.

#savemidtown, #blackhomesmatter