Demographics of San Francisco
White Black Native American Asian Hispanic
Total Population 45.01% 7.03% 00.00% 31.03% 14.00%
FACTS ABOUT SAN FRANCISCO?
San Francisco is the fourth most populous city in California and the 12th most populous city in the United States. According to the U.S. census bureau the population was 808,976.
Today, San Francisco is a popular international tourist destination, renowned for its chilly summer fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture and its famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, and Chinatown.
During World War II, the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard became a hub of activity, and Fort Mason became the primary port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater of Operations. The explosion of jobs drew many people, especially African Americans from the South, to the area.
San Francisco's climate is characteristic of the cool-summer Mediterranean climate of California’s coast with mild, wet winters and cool, dry summers.
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KSFO 560 AM San Francisco, CA News/Talk
A Touch of History
William Leidesdorff, born of an African mother and Danish father in the U.S. Virgin Islands, settled in San Francisco in 1841. He owned the largest home and built the first City Hotel in San Francisco born of an African mother and Danish father in the U.S. Virgin Islands, settled in San Francisco in 1841. He owned the largest home and built the first City Hotel in San Francisco.
African American Arts & Culture Complex - 762 Fulton Street - San Francisco, California (415) 922-2049 - (visit website)
African American Excursion - 201 Third Street, Suite 900 - San Francisco, CA 94103 - (415) 974-6900 - (visit website)
Biscuits and Blues - 401 Mason St. San Francisco, CA (415) 292-2583
Boom Boom Room - 1601 Fillmore Street - San Francisco, CA 94115 - (415) 673-8000 - (visit website)
Jazz at Pearl's - 256 Columbus Ave. San Francisco, CA
Lorraine Hansberry Theatre - 450 Post Street - San Francisco, CA - (415) 474-8800 - (visit website)
Lou's Pier 47 Blues Club - 300 Jefferson St. Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco, CA (415) 771-5687
Monte Carlo - 1705 Yosemite Street - San Francisco, CA 94124 - (415) 822-7338
Rasselas Jazz Club - 1539 Fillmore Street - San Francisco, CA 94115 - (415) 346-8198 - (visit website)
Sam Jordan's Club - 201 Third Street, Suite 900 - San Francisco, CA 94103 - (415) 824-0155
Savanna Jazz - 2649 Mission Street - San Francisco, CA 94110 - (415) 285-3369 - (visit website)
Sheba’s Piano Lounge - 1419 Fillmore Street - San Francisco, CA 94115 - (415) 440-7414 - (visit website
Black Choreographers Festival: Here & Now(Feb) - Dance Mission Theater - 3316 24th Street - San Francisco, CA 94110 - (visit website)
Honoring the Legacy & Celebrating the Next Generation is theme of the Annual Black Choreographers Festival.
Annual North Beach Festival - North Beach District - San Francisco, CA - June – August (visit website)
Come out for a super good party!
For the Bayou - Category: Events - September - San Francisco CA - (visit website)
The mission is to increase public awareness of the disappearing Louisiana coastal wetlands. The approach involves creating opportunities for the public to participate in culturally significant activities that showcase the food, music and art that is native to the Louisiana coast, including crawfish boils, Jambalaya parties, concerts, auctions and more.
Benefit Concert & Dawn Hampton at Jazz Heritage Center - Category: Events - Feb San Francisco CA - (visit website)
Dawn Hampton at Jazz Heritage Center held in Feb.
Fillmore Jazz Festival - Several blocks closed down on Fillmore Street - San Francisco, CA - (visit website)
The Fillmore Jazz Festival is the largest free Jazz festival on the West Coast. (July)
Queer Women of Color Film Festival - Category: Events - San Francisco CA June - (visit website)
Queer Women of Color Film Festival is held in June.
San Francisco Black Film Festival - PO Box 15490 - San Francisco, CA 94115 - (visit website)
Celebrating African American cinema and the African cultural Diaspora.
San Francisco Juneteenth Celebration - SF Civic Center Plaza - Polk Street Grove and McAllister - San Francisco, CA 94102 - (visit website)
The SF Juneteenth Festval is a bay area event that celebrates and shares African-American history and culture.
San Francisco Street Food Festival - (visit website)
La Cocina’s San Francisco Street Food Festival brings all of the best food (and music) in the Bay Area to one street, once a year, to celebrate the talent, the taste and the entrepreneurial spirit of people who make a living doing what they love to do.
Stern Grove Festival - Stern Grove Festival takes place at Stern Grove park - San Francisco, CA - June – August (visit website)
Fun for all, good music, good food.
A Touch of History Continued
There were several American Indian tribes in the region before San Francisco was settled in 1776 by Mexican and Spanish explorers in their De Anza expedition of California. The area slowly grew until two catalysts arrived.
Arguably, the first catalyst was William Leidesdorff (1810-1448), born of an African (mother) and Danish (father) ancestry in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Leidesdorff left New Orleans for San Francisco in 1841 after his fiancé died under questionable circumstances. He owned the largest home in San Francisco, built the first City Hotel, became Vice Consul to the United States, and became the first City Treasurer of San Francisco. He moved his international shipping business to San Francisco, built the first shipping warehouse in San Francisco, and owned tens of thousands of acres in a Sacramento County cattle and wheat ranch. Various accounts report him as the first or second wealthiest man in California.
Leidesdorff died in 1848 just before the “Gold Rush” began in 1849. Sadly, when he died without surviving children, Leidesdorff’s property went into probate. His mother and siblings unsuccessfully contested probate due to laws prohibiting the testimony of Negroes. Simultaneously, the prospect of getting rich dramatically increased the state population. Over 80,000 people came in the space of a few months, including free African-Americans and slaves with their masters. Thousands flocked to the city in preparation for or after their search for gold in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Imagine how wealthy the Leidesdorff Estate would have become selling food and goods to those fortune seekers — we’re talking Rockefeller wealth.
Mary Ellen Pleasant arrived in 1849. Madame Pleasant’s boarding house for cards, liquor and “beautiful women” allowed this sister to prosper. She co-founded the first “Bank of California”, a shelter for abused women and children, and formed the western terminus of the Underground Railroad in San Francisco. She fed them, found jobs for them and gave many African Americans their first business loan. California was admitted into the United States of America in 1850 as a free state. The prospect of more freedoms and jobs in the Western Pacific Railroad attracted more African-Americans to the Bay Area.
Through Mary Ellen Pleasant’s assistance, African-Americans began forming pockets of communities in the South Park, Telegraph Hill and the northern Financial District adjacent to present day TransAmerica Building. In 1858, she gave John Brown $30,000 to finance his raid of Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. For her courageous, abolitionist actions she was threatened by pro-slavery interests in the city and from other parts of America. Nevertheless, she led many civil rights activities before and after the Civil War.
By 1940, 16,000 African Americans lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, with most of them in San Francisco. The situation changed dramatically as a result of World War II. A worker shortage at the naval shipyards in the Bay Area drew blacks from Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas. These new immigrants settled in San Francisco and Oakland. After Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during the war, other African Americans settled in the Bayview-Hunters Point District. At its height, African Americans comprised over 15% of San Francisco population, numbering close to 100,000. Though mostly segregated, the Fillmore was a thriving self-sufficient middle and lower income community. With Fillmore Theatre as a nexus, it was particularly strong in the Jazz Era. All the early Jazz and R&B legends played here.
Once the Fair Housing Act began in 1968, some middle class black families would have chosen the suburbs for larger houses and yards. But that alone does not explain why so many moved from a desirable community whose property values would increase. Something insensitive and deliberate happened. Official city policy in the 1960’s embarked on urban redevelopment in the Fillmore District, which amounted to large scale removal of stable black middle class families.
Today, African Americans comprise about 10% of San Francisco’s population or 78,000, when it easily could have been double and wealthier.
Museum of the African Diaspora
The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) is dedicated to sharing the art and stories of our common African heritage with audiences from around the world.
Address: 685 Mission Street, San Francisco, California 94105
Hours: Closed today
MoAD was developed as part of a public/private partnership led by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency. In 1999, the City of San Francisco created a mandate to include an African American cultural presence in the last vacant parcel of Yerba Buena Gardens. San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown appointed a steering committee to determine the mission and scope of a cultural facility within the complex. Cultural management, architectural and design consultants worked with members of the committee to design a world-class facility and develop fresh, vital programming that didn’t exist anywhere else.
The African American Cultural Institute grew out of the research and development process that began in 2002. The new museum was renamed Museum of the African Diaspora to reflect a broadened scope and mission, and incorporated as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. The architecturally stunning space was designed by the nationally-renowned Freelon Group within the St. Regis Museum Tower. MoAD opened its doors in 2005, debuting a modern museum designed to showcase art and culture through the lens of the African Diaspora.
New Chicago Barbershop #3
One of the oldest black-owned businesses in the Fillmore District. The walls are filled with many historic pictures when the Fillmore was still in its heyday. If you are lucky, chat with the oldest barber to hear about the good old Fillmore days.
Omega Library Centre
Founded by Joe Marshall of Omega Boys Club, this center is known for its academic preparation program for underprivileged youth. It is also known for Joe’s radio talk-show, “Street Soldiers.”
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 9a-5p
ADDRESS: 1060 Tennessee Street, San Francisco MAP
2. New York
9. New Orleans
17. Saint Louis
21. Los Angeles
23. San Francisco
Calvary Hill Community Church - 141 Industrial Street - San Francisco CA 94124 - (415) 647-5300
Church For the Fellowship of All People - 2041 Larkin St. - San Francisco CA 94109 - (415) 776-4910
City of Refuge UCC - 1025 Howard Street - San Francisco CA 94103 (415) 861-6130 - (visit website)
MarketPlace Fellowship - 860 Innes Avenue - San Francisco CA 94124 - (415) 282-8883
True Hope Church of God in Christ - 950 Gilman Avenue - San Francisco CA 94124 (415) 822-5626
Uptown Church of Christ - If you like to worship God in Spirit and in truth, if you enjoy thinking and meditating on God's word, if you appreciate warm, intimate, genuine, brotherliness, you will enjoy attending the services of the Church of Christ. Roman 16:16; Matthew 16:18 - 949 Fillmore Street - San Francisco CA (415) 931-9333 - (visit website)
San Francisco Heritage Sites
African American Art & Culture Complex
The African American Art and Culture Complex (AAACC) is a community based, 501(c)3 arts and cultural organization. Our mission is to empower our community through Afro-centric artistic and cultural expression, mediums, education and programming.
Address: 762 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Main Office Phone: (415)922-2049
Tuesday - Friday: 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
ABOUT The AAACC
In July 1989, Supervisor Willie B. Kennedy forwarded a resolution to the Board of Supervisors that urged the Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco to consider the sale or long-term lease of the Western Addition Cultural Center to better reflect the needs of the community in terms of programming, management and operations. The resolution passed unanimously.
Ms. Geraldine Johnson helped shape the preliminary draft legislation and efforts began in earnest to forge a new entity – a cultural center that would serve the community for generations to come. The community turned to the leadership of the Wajumbe Cultural Institution, Inc., and the San Francisco African American Historical Society - two of the oldest African American cultural organizations in San Francisco. A new non-profit corporation was formed in 1989 - the Center for African and African American Art and Culture. Since then, the name of the center has changed, but our mission and values remain the same: to provide a space in San Francisco and beyond for cross-cultural understanding through the celebration of African and African American experiences and history.
Today, the African American Arts & Culture Complex is a vital resource in San Francisco, adding to the city’s rich culture and diversity. We serve not only San Francisco’s African American community, but also the entire San Francisco Bay Area, as well as tourists.
We are dedicated to community change by fostering a commitment to service and activism through Afro-centric artistic and cultural performance, exhibition and programming. Our 34,000 sq. ft. facility houses an art gallery and three art exhibitions spaces, a 203 seat theater, a recording studio, library and archives of African American history, two dance studios and other multi-purpose space.
We offer visual and performing arts programs and classes including music, dance, theatre, audio recording, and arts and crafts. We also offer affordable performing arts venues for a host of community events, meetings, performances, art exhibits, trainings and conferences.
Our space also serves as a home to some of the most respected performing arts organizations in the Bay Area, including AfroSolo Theatre Company, the African American Shakespeare Company and Cultural Odyssey.
Other resident art organizations include the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society, the San Francisco Juneteenth Festival, Take Wings Foundation, Robert Henry Johnson and SF Noir.
Supported primarily by the San Francisco Arts Commission, the AAACC’s success also depends on the support and participation of the general public. Visit our Support Us page to find out ways you can help.
In 1841, William Leidesdorff commanded the first steamship into San Francisco Bay. Wealth from his shipping line purchased extensive property between California, Grant, Washington & Montgomery streets and built one of the first major hotels in San Francisco. A small street in the Financial District is named in his honor.
ADDRESS: Between Sansome and Montgomery Streets, San Francisco MAP
Mary Ellen Pleasant Memorial
From slave to businesswoman (1814-1903) Madame Pleasant used wealth created from a boarding house and other business ventures to establish the Western Terminus of the Underground Railroad and uplift the Black business community. She won the lawsuit in 1864, which allowed African Americans to ride San Francisco streetcars. Most historians consider her the “Mother of Civil Rights in California.” A large disc-like plaque occupies the front location of her former home.
ADDRESS: Southwest corner of Bush and Octavia Streets, San Francisco MAP
Hotel Mark Twain
The earliest downtown hotel to permit African Americans to stay as guests. In 1949, Billie Holiday stayed here while performing at other venues around town who did not permit her to sleep on the premises. Billie’s room is restored and dedicated in her honor.
This street and district developed its world-famous Jazz and Blues nightclub reputation during and just after World War II. It featured several jazz and blues clubs, as well as the world famous Fillmore Auditorium and solid black middle class before destruction by the SF Redevelopment Agency. Fortunately, the Fillmore Heritage Center, Yoshis Jazz Club, 1300 Fillmore, Gussies Restaurant and other small businesses have revived Fillmore Street. Its a must-visit again.
ADDRESS: Fillmore Street, San Francisco MAP
Martin Luther King Memorial Waterfall
A lovely organic to Yerba Buena Gardens and Fountain, the memorial is the interplay of a long horizontal structure with a waterfall cascading from a 30-foot drop in front of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. In keeping wit the cities diverse residents and tourists, his speech is written in several languages that visitors see as they walk under a peaceful waterfall.
DAYS & HOURS: daily, sunrise to sundown
ADDRESS: Yerba Buena Gardens between 4th, 3rd, Howard & Mission Streets, San Francisco MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: BART-Muni Metro Montgomery Street Station
PARKING: garages on Third Street
Lorraine Hansberry Theatre
DESCRIPTION: This small theatre honoring the great Lorraine Hansberry, features works from famous African-American playwrights; also features plays by August Wilson, including King Hedley, II. Founded in 1981 by Stanley E. Williams, LHT made nomadic performes around the city for seven seasons. In 1988, LHT’s first home opened in the Landmark YWCA building at 620 Sutter Street. LHT then relocated its business office to 777 Jones Street in Nob Hill. When the building on Sutter Street was sold, it resumed performing in various venues around town, albeit upgraded facilities like Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and African-American Arts & Culture Complex in Fillmore District.
BOX OFFICE: visit their website
ADDRESS: Admin Office 777 Jones Street, San Francisco; group performs at various venues in SF
RAPID TRANSIT: n.a.
Robert Moses Kin
Founded in 1995, this nationally renowned dance company is recognized for its artistic excellence and choreographic innovation; frequent collaborators with important artists in dance, music, poetry, and visual arts, RMK is dedicated to moving the art forms of dance and performance forward.
BOX OFFICE: see website
ADDRESS: 870 Market Street, Flood Building, San Francisco MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: BART-Muni Metro Powell Street Station and Powell Street Cable Car
PARKING: garages on Fourth Street and Mission Street
Bayview Opera House
This community cultural center and venue for African American theatre was also the city’s first opera house in 1888. It hosts a Drama Academy, Children’s Mural Program and the Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre.
ADMISSION: Free for many events, fee-based for special events; donations always welcome.
DAYS & HOURS: call for calendar of events
ADDRESS: 4705 3rd Street, San Francisco MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Muni Metro Third Street/Oakdale/Palou Station
PARKING: on street
Winemaker Mac McDonald was born the son of a Texas moonshine maker. His mother made wine from various fruits grown on their farm. After tasting Pinot Noirs from the world over (which tasted better than moonshine) and following several trips to France, he and wife decided to become a winemakers. His Pinot Noir has won awards. Mac does not have a wine tasting room, but he does have a Wine Club and you can make appointments to visit.
ADDRESS: Windsor, CA
PARKING: on site
This award-winning vineyard is one of a handful of American Viticulture Associations designated appellations. Producing some of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Merlot and Pinot Noir in the region, many larger wineries purchase grapes from them. With 30 years experience as California vintners, the Sterling Family prefers a “small quantity, high quality” style of winemaking. Hence, they carefully selected each of their vineyards for climate, soil conditions and geography to present the finest fruit from superior appellations. They have a Wine Club, where you can join the family in their Fall wine crush. It is located on 400-acres in Mendocino County, so bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the spectacular views.
Vance and Monika Sharp’s founded this winery in 1998 on a hillside that features organically-grown grapes. They used to offer private tours, tastings and a four-course winemaker’s meals in a Mediterranean-style estate with sweeping vistas of the Sonoma Valley. Their signature product is Hailey’s Creek Zinfandel, but they have Best in Class Wine awards for their Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc. After nearly 20 years as winemakers, Vance and Monika are retiring. The good news is, you can purchase their remaining wines by the case at 50-70% discount. Call 707-290-3515 or Email to place your order on these best-of-breed wines at fantastic prices before they run out.
ADDRESS: 17560 Norrbom Road, Sonoma County MAP
PARKING: on site