Category Archives: San Francisco History

I am San Francisco: Black Past and Presence

April 16-November 2, 2016
Rosenberg Library, Ocean Campus, 3rd & 4th Floors, Atrium

I AM SAN FRANCISCO makes visible the existence, depth, and diversity of Black life and culture in San Francisco. The exhibition is created in response to the overwhelmingly widespread impression that black life in San Francisco has faded away. This belief only serves to perpetuate the lack of acknowledgement and cultural awareness in San Francisco that is affecting all of us.

San Francisco has always been a city in transition, and it has also always been characterized by its commitment to cultural diversity and creative communities. The evolution of anything naturally involves the evolution of all its parts. We are doing our part to make sure we are not overlooked so that we can grow together with our city. In the words of James Baldwin “We are the San Francisco that no one talks about.”  We are not here to fight, struggle, or prove anything. Our intent is to share our insight on our ever-changing city by recognizing the depth, beauty, complexity, and abundance prevalent within ‘Black life’ in San Francisco—culturally, communally, and individually.

This exhibition is Part II, a sequel to Part I, curated by Kheven LaGrone, I Am San Francisco: (Re)collecting the Homes of Native Black San Franciscans, featured earlier this year at the San Francisco Main Public Library. I am San Francisco is inspired by conversations I have had with my uncle, Kheven LaGrone, regarding diversity within Blackness in the wake of Black Lives Matter.

I Am San Francisco: Black Past and Presence features art from San Francisco natives and residents. We must remember that one story could not capture the magnitude of our presence, to quote Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”

Storytellers and artists represented in I Am San Francisco include:

Aliyah Dunn-Salhuddin; Alma Robinson; Dr. Andrew Jolivette; Emory Douglas; Sophie Maxwell; Dr. Joseph Marshall; Thea Matthews; Virginia Jourdan; Kali O’Ray; Stewart Shaw; Blanche Brown; Bongo Sidibe; Ras K’dee; Carol Tatum; Edward Jackson; Isaih Ball; Joanna Haigood; Maya Rogers; Liz Jackson-Simpson; Marco Senghor; Megan Dickey; Sydney “Sage” Cain; Sabrina Lawrence; Dr. Toye Moses, Theo Ellington; Thomas Simpson; Wanda Holland-Greene; Jacqueline Francis; Wanda Sabir; William Rhodes; Michael Ross; Rhiannon MacFayden; Devorah Major; Gregory Harden; Xavier “Chavi Lopez” Schmidt; Tania Santiago; Samoel “Urubu Malandro” Domingos; Halima Marshall; Careem Conley; Mohammed Bilal; Kristine Mays; Michole “Micholiano” Forks; Jess Clarke; Christine Joy Ferrer; Kheven LaGrone; and the Three Point Nine Collective. The Collective is “an association of African American artists, curators, and art writers. Their work represents their creative contribution to the African American existence, enriching the greater San Francisco artistic community with their narratives and perspectives born from being members of a diasporic community.”

Jarrel Phillips
CCSF Guest Curator
Executive Director, AVE
Member, Three Point Nine Collective
I am a product of San Francisco and San Francisco is a product of me.

Christine Joy Ferrer, Exhibition Panel Designer
EO MVMNT  Media + Design Founder

Window Installation: Sydney “Sage” Cain

Download Assignment and list of library resources: I am SF

Read the related article in Race, Poverty & The Environment

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Compositions: A San Francisco Filipino American Experience

Madeleine Haas Russell Gallery
2nd Floor, Rosenberg Library
Ocean Campus
March 4-October 13, 2016
Library Hours
Please Join us for a reception! 
 Thursday, October 13, 12 noon-2:00 pm
 Madeleine Haas Russell Gallery
 2nd Floor, Rosenberg Library, City College Ocean Campus
 Meet Janet Alvarado and learn more about the work of her father,
 Ricardo Ocreto Alvarado
 Light refreshments, Free
Event co-Sponsored by School of Social Sciences, Behavioral Sciences and Multicultural Studies, TULAY-The Filipino american Student Success Program, Pilipinos for Education Art Culture and Empowerment (PEACE) and the Multicultural Retention Center.
The reception is co-produced by the Alvarado Project.

Compositions: A San Francisco Filipino American Experience is curated by Janet Alvarado. Black and white photographs taken by Alvarado’s father, Ricardo Ocreto Alavarado, fill the Madeleine Haas Russell Gallery on the 2nd floor of the Rosenberg Library. Ricardo Alvarado documented the Filipino American community in San Francisco during the 1940s and 1950s. Photographs of family gatherings, house parties, street scenes, musical and social events were taken south of Market, on Bernal Heights, in the Western Addition, the Fillmore District, at the Alemany Farmers Market and in the Presidio. The photographer’s warm and observant eye captured a rich, engaged community spread across San Francisco. Commentary from well-known Filipino Americans—Emil Guillermo and musician/composer/educator Melecio Magdaluyo among them, describe the community that Ricardo Alvarado photographed.  An accompanying anthology, Claiming Our Stories, now in the CCSF Library collection, includes essays by contemporary Filipino American writers Oscar Peneranda, Guilo Sorro, Emil Guillermo, Janet Alvarado and others who describe the city’s rich cultural history and contributions Filipinos have made to the community.

Ricardo Ocreto Alvarado took over 3,000. Compositions is Janet Alvarado’s second curatorial project highlighting and contextualizing her father’s work.

Learn more about the Alvarado Project here.

Download: Assignment and Resources for Compositions

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Celebrating 80 Years: City College is STILL Your College

ccsf 80 typewriter ccsf 80 40s 50s g00d  ccsf 80 truth freak ccsf 80 sansei
Click on images to enlarge

May 5, 2015-February 4, 2016
3rd Floor Atrium, Rosenberg Library
Click here for Library hours.

City College of San Francisco has had a college newspaper since it began. This exhibition, a collaboration with CCSF’s Journalism Department, tells the College’s history through articles from The Guardsman archive. “The Guardsman is really the prime source of reporting for the college, both on student matters and on governance. Without it, there would be little narrative of the college past, certainly not with the level and breadth of coverage that The Guardsman has given us,” says Dr. Christopher Kox, Interim Dean of the City College Library.

BUILDING THE FOUNDATIONS
Originally titled Emanon (“no name” spelled backwards), The Guardsman switched to its current title after only a few issues. The push for a centralized campus for the “trolley car college” became a major theme in the paper’s early days before the construction of the landmark science building in 1940. “We got plenty of nothing,” complains a 1937 article on the far-flung City College locations of the time. The dirt and photos in this case show the building of the new campus on “Windy Hill 29” (out of San Francisco’s 49) while an early spread in the paper illustrates the complex printing process of the pre-digital age.

ccsf 80 contemp award better ccsf 80 black theater reflection ccsf 80 70s flag girl ccsf 80 contemp mac
Click on images to enlarge

CITY COLLEGE IS YOUR COLLEGE
The paper’s history reflects City College’s unique niche as an urban community college in one of the country’s most diverse cities.
During World War II, Ruth Kay, whose family fled Nazi Germany, shares her story, while a headline from the same page ruminates on “The Superiority of Negro Street Car Conductors” under a cartoon of
Adolph Hitler. The school’s mission of inclusivity and job training are echoed throughout its pages. Post-World War II, married veterans lived in on-campus Quonset huts built under the GI Bill, while flyers and pamphlets emphasize the range of classes and training programs available to students.

INCLUSION AND RADICALISM
“Transexuality is a reality” proclaims a 1977 Guardsman headline. The article profiles a transgender sex worker and City College student, including quotes from a registrar assuring students that sex had no bearing on admission. In 1968, The Associated Students Council founded an alternative paper, The Free Critic. From La Raza Unida to the Women’s Resource Center to the Black Student’s Union, the Critic featured groups that still play major roles at City College. Hua Sheng, or China Voice, was a handwritten feature published weekly in the Free Critic under the name Han for English speakers. The Associated Students and Chinese students pushed for the project despite initial opposition, and it became a regular part of the student-run Critic.

COMMUNITY AND NEW MEDIA
Today, The Guardsman has expanded its scope under department chair Juan Gonzales to include community-wide news stories, a website and Facebook page, and color photos. Etc. Magazine features longer-form stories from City College’s journalism students. Like The Guardsman, it covers issues affecting the school and its surrounding community, such as the ongoing fight for accreditation. The newspaper and magazine continually take top honors at the Journalism Association of Community Colleges state convention, and regularly win general excellence honors each semester. The publications join Forum, the English department’s literary journal (established 1937 and revived in the 2000s) to tell the story of City College through the printed – and digital – word.
——-Marynoel Strope, co-curator

Check out The Guardsman
Check out the CCSF Journalism Department

Download Celebrating 80 Years CCSF the exhibition assignment and list of resources.

Special thanks to Susan Hathaway who designed the running banner at the top of the cases with the many different mastheads The Guardsman has used over the years. Thanks also to Mark Albright and Johanna Rudolph.

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At the Chinatown/North Beach Center Library

Execrative Order 906-6-6
Scott Tsuchitani

Kitty       Motherhood and Apple Pie

Etchings and Digital Prints
January-May 2014
Click here for Location

Inspired by the book Executive Order 9066, Scott Tsuchitani takes a critical look at the mass detention of Japanese Americans living on the West Coast during WWII and the images used to describe this history. He uses aquatint to beautifully render these historic photographs, adding his own visual commentary. He practices and teaches printmaking at the City College of San Francisco Fort Mason Campus.

This exhibition also includes information on the source photographs and a description of the aquatint technique Tsuchitani used.
The exhibition is on view during building hours:
Mon-Thurs 7:00am-9:00pm
Fri 7:00am-5:00pm
Sat & Sun 8:00am-2:00pm

808 Kearny Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
Circulation:  (415) 395-8643
Reference:   (415) 395-8642
(Located at the corner of Kearny & Washington Streets)

Chinatown/North Beach Center Library exhibitions are curated by Mary Marsh. For more information, contact her at mmarsh (at) ccsf.edu.

Tsuchitani Exhibition Detail 3  Tsuchitani Exhibition Detail

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White Collar:

A Depression-Era Graphic Novel
About Work

3rd Floor, Rosenberg Library, City College of San Francisco
October 25, 2013-April 12, 2014

White Collar

White Collar, by Giacomo Patri

Artist Giacomo Patri envisioned White Collar as a book that would dramatize, explain and solve the problem of the non-unionized white-collar worker who had been crushed by the poverty of the Great Depression in the 1930s. White Collar contrasts isolated poverty with the alternative: united action of the middle-class worker, it urges white callar workers to join unions and to join with their blue collar fellow workers. Patri had experienced many of the struggles depicted in the book personally. Using the linocut, a technique of carving linoleum attached to wooden blocks, he hand-printed the first edition with the help of his wife Stella, a book designer.  The second and third editions were commercially printed.

The Great Depression was the worst economic crisis of the 20th Century.  After the stock market collapsed in 1929, nearly half the country’s banks failed and some 13 to 15 million Americans were unemployed – nearly one in four workers. California’s unemployment rate was 28% in 1932, and in San Francisco the number of unemployed nearly doubled in one year from 1930 to 1931, reaching its peak in 1933.  Many people lost their homes and their life savings. The U. S. government, led by President Franklin Roosevelt, responded to the crisis with a series of laws and programs called the New Deal. Banking regulations were passed to prevent the financial speculation that led to the stock market crash, social safety net programs such as Social Security were created to prevent poverty, and protections were put in place that legally allowed workers to organize into unions for the first time.

Using strong graphic illustrations and just two colors, White Collar  depicts the impact of the Great Depression on ordinary people through images rather than words. The novel is a wonderful example of the powerful graphic style of the 1930s and an example of the dynamic collaborations between artists and the labor community during this period.  Shortly before World War II began, Giacomo Patri became the Director of the Art Department at the California Labor School. The Labor School’s curriculum included training in various trades, along with history, philosophy and other humanities courses taught from a working class perspective.  The art programs were among the most popular and any many leading artists, musicians and actors taught at the school. Financial support for the California Labor School came primarily from unions and after the war students were able to use GI Bill funds for tuition. Because the School was ethnically diverse during the Jim Crow era and many of the students and faculty were politically progressive, it was targeted as subversive during the McCarthy anti-communist 1950s, which led to its eventual closure in 1957. 

The exhibition White Collar is a collaboration with the Labor Archives and Research Center (LARC) at San Francisco State University. The LARC collection includes many works by Patri.

For good stories on the labor movement, checkout the LARC on Facebook.

Download the White Collar Assignment and list of books and other resources in the CCSF Library

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Spanning the Gate: Celebrating the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary

Spanning the Gate
Celebrating the
Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary

Fred Brusati Working on the Golden Gate Bridge

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, a stupendous feat of engineering and design that has been called one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

Spanning the Gate offers a behind-the-scenes look at the complex construction process of this amazing landmark. The project required a multitude of skilled workers – carpenters, electricians, pile drivers, divers, ironworkers – along with many laborers who provided back breaking support work to these craftsmen.

Built hundreds of feet above the dangerously churning waters of the entrance to San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge was an extremely challenging worksite. Several men lost their lives and many others were injured during the four and a half years it took to build the bridge.

 We salute the working class heroes whose skill and dedication brought the dream of spanning the Gate to fruition.

An Exhibit of Photographs from the Labor Archives and Research Center Collection.

Spanning the Gate Assignment and Book List

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