Read stories submitted by folks from all across America!
From Jahanshah, Washington, DC:
On and off, for four years, I have been attending a church called All Soul's UUC, in washington DC. I had always known that UU was very much involved in Civil Rights. One more reason to go there for someone such as myself.
Recently, I found out that there is an old projector in that church slowly gathering dust. That projector was used for the only non-segregated theater in DC. With the end of segragation, the theater clearly had no more 'raison d'etre'.
THis projector is part of US civil rights history, I am sad that it is not being refurbished. I am sad that no one is doing research on the history behing this theater.
I am sad that that neighborhood has bars and clubs, but no cultural center where people in the area can sit and watch movies together at a low cost, only for the sake of reviving a tradition that has been comatose for forty odd years.
I am sad that this projector and the stories behind it will be forgotten in a few years.
And by writing these lines, I am hoping that someone will notice that somethings are worth refurbishing. That some traditions deserve to be brought back to life.
So, if you read this, please contact anyone who might be interested in preserving a stretch of history that reminds us that even in the days of segragation, there were places where people got together in joy and fraternity, irrespective of skin color.
From Jessie, NY:
By watching the Fillmore story I but only glanced at the TV and was scared of the thought of what if it will happen to Harlem and Washington Heights, the community in which I was raised most of my life. I have noticed that Harlem has changed as far as a community in which businesses like Starbucks has come into the scene or big department stores such as Old Navy has sprung out of no where. My concern is that by having these major department stores come into the community what will be the effect on the long run for those people that already live in the community? Will they be able to afford to live there or forced to relocate because of they're low source of income? Especially for those families who already have built they're memories and life in Harlem. Will they be forced to leave? I believe that it is really good when major businesses want to come into a community and invest. But when it starts affecting the people that already live there who cannot be able to afford to stay in they're neighborhood.
From Jamie Jamerson, California:
I operated a printing and publishing company called Jamerson Printing Company from 813 Laguna Street (between MacAllister & Fulton Sts) from February, 1961 through 1971, or until the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (SFRDA) physically removed my papers/equipment to the dumps and sold my printing equipment for scrap metal.
While in business I provided printing materials and services to the Black American community via of Juneteenth, Black Panther Party, the Bulart Foundation, the Journal of Black Poetry (published by Joe Goncalves), the Off Center MultiCultural Center (330 Grove Street), The Flamingo Club and The Congo Club, The Wesley Johnson Pharmacies, many posters (including, Cleaver for President). etc.
I am currently the chair of the Black Printers group called the Golden Gate Group (3Gs) and have produced on public access TV a program called "The Fillmore" monthly, 10-11 pm, on the first Monday of each month for some four years.
From Adrienne, California:
I remember growing up in Western Addition's lower-Haight during the 1970's-1980's, when it was a true community. The area wasn't nearly as prized as it is now, and it was widely ignored by the City. However, the community was alive and vibrant with working-class families. Through primarily African American, it was a welcoming mix of American families and individuals of diverse backgrounds: Chinese, Palestinian, white and Latino. Businesses were plentiful and I remember the Peacock Lounge (though too young to get in) that was owned by African American Masons, a local market that catered to the tastes of transplanted southern African Americans, an organic produce market, and other thriving businesses.
Unfortunately --like many of the working families and individuals who lived in the lower-Haight-- outrageous rents created by new landlords and greedy neighborhood landlords ran us out of our community and our City.
A third generation San Franciscan, and the product of Noe Valley and the Western Addition, and the 1980's ended much of San Francisco's idea of community.