San Francisco’s history of racist displacement

Article about the history of systemic racism in San Francisco, and particularly about one man’s racist redevelopment efforts.

“For San Francisco, the architect of [the tear-down-and-displace process] was Justin Herman, head of the SF Redevelopment Agency from 1959 until his death in 1971. During his time in the role, he oversaw the demolition of almost the entire Fillmore district. […] to make room for the planned widening of Geary Boulevard, […] 461 Black-owned businesses and over 4,000 black families were evicted[…]. The result was the de facto exile of San Francisco’s black population, which in the postwar years had grown to make up as much of 13% of The City, at the time larger even than The City’s Asian community. It now stands at just north of 5%, which is the lowest percentage of African American residents in any major American city”

The article also says: “So how has tolerant, liberal, progressive San Francisco come to terms with this ugly piece of our past? By naming our most scenic and significant public plaza after Herman, and handing out an annual award for business development named in his honor.” But this article is from June, 2017; in November, 2017, the Recreation & Parks Commission decided to remove Herman’s name from the plaza. Wikipedia says “The name Embarcadero Plaza will be temporary until a new official name can be decided upon”; it’s unclear to me whether any further action has been taken since 2017.

(To be clear: The naming issue is a significant part of the article’s emphasis, but I’m sharing the article primarily because of the historical information it includes.)

(via KTO)

(Article from 2017.)

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