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Art, Cultural Resistance & Transformation

Healing and Heritage

“Don’t forget who you are. Don’t forget the people who brought you here. Learn about your ancestors, what they had to go through so that you can do the things that you do now. I always tell the stories of my grandmother because she was doing things to get away from the South long before the Civil Rights marches. Then when my husband and I were younger, we took part in the Civil Rights marches and marched in the streets. We have to let the younger generations know that what they have now, they haven’t done anything to get. It’s the people who came before that pushed us to where we are now. So what are you going to do for the future?"

Blanche Brown, Haitian Folkoric Dance Teacher and Yoruba Priestess

Alma Robinson

Alma Robinson. ©2016 Jarrel Phillips

The intersection of art and politics started in the Constitution with the First Amendment, which is about freedom of expression. From that idea, we embrace expression, and sometimes you have to be political about it in terms of artistry.

Mohammed Soriano Bilal

Mohammed Soriano Bilal. ©2016 Jarrel Phillips

African Americans built San Francisco and I don’t just mean the bricks. In its earliest origins, historian John Templeton said that there were four Black men involved in what San Francisco was going to become. Look at people like William Leidesdorff Jr., whose statue is in the Financial District. He’s one of the key architects to decide whether San Francisco was going to be called San Francisco or Yerba Buena. He was a multiracial brother of African descent. And, Pio Pico was Mexican, African American and Spanish. These were some of San Francisco’s architects.

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