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Saturday, February 11, 2012


In the making of the West from the early Pioneer Days - there is no doubt Negroes, Blacks, African Americans played an important role - in the making and progress of California.

Some where along the line those brave men and women - the Buffalo Soldiers, thousands of Blacks most who came from the South - through hard work, made good with what they had and contributed in large measure to the State we call California.

Over 450 Buffalo Soldiers lie at the Presidio Cemetery that comes under the jurisdiction of the Veteran Administration at the Presidio of San Francisco.

These brave soldiers accompanied the thousands of Pioneers, who laid stake to land all over Calfornia and went on to make their lives in California.

The Buffalo Soldier themselves built roads and look after the vast Federal lands - within which today reside the major National Parks one of them being - Sequoia National Park the other Yosemite National Park and more.

These soldiers all Black wrote the first Standard Operating Procedures how to manage - our now National Parks. That was before the National Park Service itself was formed in 1916.

Henry Halleck (1815-1872) was a Black engineer who built many houses including the historic Montgomery Block in 1853. He was well know during this time but today most of us who should know something about this important period - know little - and in knowing little betray our ignorance. And in betraying our ignorance - wonder what has become of Blacks and why "gentrification" has got the better of Blacks all over California.

William Alexander Leidesforff (1810-1848) built a warehouse and was a well know business man in San Francisco. He served as San Francisco City Treasurer and even as the U.S. Vice Consul in San Francisco during the Mexican rule.

Today a  street is named after him in the Financial District. He died young but what a legacy for today's Blacks.

At 917 Washington Street in San Francisco Blacks financed and constructed the San Francisco Athenaeum Building.

From 1853 to 1858 it housed the Athenaeum Library Company the earliest Black library association in the West. Laid the foundation of today Black Historical Association - that is feeble and lacks sound leadership.

Mary Ellen Pleasant (1820-1904) ran a boarding house where the most important movers and shakers of the time congregated.

Mary Ellen Pleasant owned hundreds of acres of land and used her influence to champion the cause of Black Civil Rights in California. She helped rescue slaves and funded the Underground Railway.

Blacks operated Bath Houses because many homes did not have plumbing and there was a need for the Middle Class to embrace cleanliness. James Richard Phillips (1836-1902) was a purveyor of such a Bath House and there were more - having learned the trade in New York.

There were many churches built during this time around 1860 - mostly in the area now know as Pine and Bush Streets and later in what is now South of Market Area.

In still later times - these churches moved to Bayview Hunters Point where today the congregations are dying.
The many Black pastors are embroiled in politics - backing blood money - and a rogue developer called Lennar.

For years the SF Redevelopment Agency used Black churches as conduits to do their dirty work. Such dirty polys and machinations would never, ever have any place in the Churches of the past.

Few of us know of Colonel Ellensworth who bought hundreds of acres of land close to Tulare and created a township that is now a State Park named after him. He invested in education and hired the best to create a learning institution recognized in California.

He was a Chaplin in the U.S. Army. Born a slave he taught himself to read and later built churches and schools to help Blacks in Southern California.

On his large estate he invited Blacks from all over the United States to come and find true freedom. Most of those that joined him - were his comrades from the United States Army.

The managed to find water and used artesian wells that had so much underground force - that they pored out water from the ground - two or three feet high - throughout the year.

It was such miracles that made their venture famous but not for long. These men and women encountered hurdles, some economic, some linked to the changing times, World War I and so on. In the time they were there - as usual some never contributed to their success but most of them that did - did it on their own.

The Black men and women of those times against great odds had character, sheer strong will, the determination to be the best, and long after they passed they left a rich legacy and those that came in contact with them - even for a brief period - felt their presence long after and for good.

In the 1970s and early 1980s the Black population reflected 25% of the City's population - this reflected in large measure the hard work, achievement of those Blacks who laid the foundation - against all odds made all Blacks look good - it was not easy but as often happens there are those - the many like Frederick Douglass a hero but more a patriarch of all Blacks during his time and even today.

Frederick Douglass debated the best of his time - and was so eloquent that most men of his time - and this were White mostly - could not muster the courage to stand up and fess up. Frederick Douglass debated President Abraham Lincoln and those that witnessed the debate were in awe - the writings of the time are there for us all to read and ponder.

Today the population of Black in San Francisco is about 5% and the Black History Events reflect a time where we cannot showcase one single Black as a key note speaker the likes of what we had in the past - that, built this City and areas around San Francisco - who can speak with authority and be proud to be Black and show a connectivity to the rich Black legacy of California's past.

Do you think the Black ancestors and those that won laurels and made good - did this by sitting on the fence and jumping on that side that was green? Do you think they did it by pandering, sell out, and not having gumption to stand for what was right? Do you think they turned their backs on those Blacks that were less fortunate? We must think hard - for those that "think" for us - do not have the better interests of Blacks and more of all colored people.

Again and again the old guard, mostly sell outs come out to portray themselves in a nonchalant manner - and make a mockery of what could otherwise stand to reflect the best Blacks have to show in contemporary times.

I have seen such nonsense again and again - why settle for something mundane, something so shallow that it falls flat on the face - where is that Negro, that Black, that African American that can stand tall - and shine and bring light where there is sheer - darkness.

Instead of standing on their own feet - these shallow Black events depend on grants, donations, always begging and failing to stand tall and portray the best Blacks have to offer.

The monuments are there some leading Churches celebrating 100 years - other monuments past 100 years were left to decay and fall down - there are those that talk the talk but few that can walk the walk.

All over our City - the City of Compassion - the City that was built by Black unlike many others - has documentation as to what Black accomplished from early times. Later more when Hunters Point and other Shipyards as part of the War Effort - used Blacks as work force and made a name for themselves.

As part of this effort the "Port Chicago Incident" where over 400 Blacks were killed and other Blacks told to report to work - as if they were expandable.

Many said no and were court marshaled and slighted - the Whites of those times - tried the stance of the South but failed. In the long run we have forgotten those that stood up - even as today we forget those few that stand up for what is right and the TRUTH.

Few stood up to reveal the dark side of SF Redevelopment Agency that destroyed an entire Middle Class in the Fillmore. Send educated families to live in Single Residency Occupancy (SROs) to die slowly - prey to alcohol, drugs, prostitution - and many saw it and did nothing about it.

Crack cocaine was introduced in Black neighborhood and most of us know about it. Other drugs were introduced - I know not of any Black who had the capability - to have factories to manufacture, bring in tons of cocaine, distribute tons of marijuana know better as weed, distribute guns - and other materials that have divided families and devastated Black neighborhoods.

Why are we so shallow when our ancestors were so wise and so articulate and many did not even go to college. The few that read some out shone the best of the best. Those that went to college before - understood that they had to share, make a sacrifice and love. Where are these women and men - and why is there such a lack of preeminence today? 

Our current shallow Black leaders failed to first comprehend the Unfinished Agenda and secondly mocked this important document on the plight of the Blacks in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s - to the speeding up of the dire plight of Blacks today.

The sell outs did this by bringing out a fake document that offers no succor, no vision, no hope and called it Out Migration - as  if they were dealing with some birds in migration. What a crying shame. Back by SF Redevelopment Agency and the same sell outs that are present at the many Black History Events - touting their own horn and accepting honorary commendations not worth their salt.

The Black History Month held at our Civic Events all over San Francisco can be best described as gathering of the shallow where no Negro, no Black, no African American can stand up and speak to the TRUTH.

The House Negro in trying to say something gets stifled by her or his soul - selling out and pandering, foundering, and realizing that the suicidal attempt is not going far - d succumbing  - contributing to an era that continues to shame our elders, the heroes of the past - the ancestors who stood tall and left their best for us to stand by and more to take to another - level.

Our Black youth are left to themselves and have no clue as to what their ancestors achieved against great odds to make California and attain freedom.

There is freedom and there is license. Abuse of freedom is license and what we see in the many mundane thing - is just that. Abuse of our women. How many times is it necessary to use the word "bitch" to make some sordid point?

Why so many children born out of wedlock? Why so many men incarcerated?  Why so many drop outs and the majority of truants - Blacks in San Francisco?

Why so many men failing to go to college? The women do and shine but always to fall prey to mundane things that are brought about their way - because of lack of sensitivity and those being macho and understanding - some.

Today's Black leaders choose to sell their community to take some stale, bread crumbs and feel elated momentarily - and then wallow back in dissatisfaction and misery. When the well is dry - they get bitter because in the first place the lack of spirituality - made them a sell out. Where are our principled leaders?

San Francisco must be ashamed of itself - year after year it has less to show and more to complain during Black History Month.

There is no leadership not from the Historical Society that had it roots established around 1850. Not in the many Black churches in San Francisco. Over 40 Black churches of various denominations in the Bayview Hunters Point - alone. More else where.

I challenge any decent leader who has a following in San Francisco to a fair debate on the decline of the Black population in San Francisco.

I especially would like to challenge all the sell outs that took money from Lennar, a Rogue Developer and with intent were part of the harm done to our children and mostly Black population around Parcel A at Hunters Point.

In contemporary times we have do not have one single  Black leader be it from the many Churches, the schools and colleges, the businesses, the politicians of today, that can stand their ground as true leaders - with some ethical principles worth the salt and represent.

At the Civic Events celebrating Black History Month the organizers are so confused and confounded -  what they offer is a far cry from what past Black leaders left as a legacy to the Black community in California and San Francisco.

Instead of preserving and protecting the values of the California Black leaders - today's so called Black leaders have tarnished the best that was left - sacrosanct values linked to hard work, high principles, sound standards - all that one could achieve as a decent human being and portray as excellent.

The home of human kind is Africa.

Black historians of today gather some information and can hardly say much with authority - because they are not educated on issues and less with the history of their own Black people.

I often meet them and in a conversation - they are astounded to hear some of the things I have to say. Less comprehend the unwritten history and values that have been passed from generation to generation.

Baring one or two the one that truly stands out - Anthony Powell. The rest like a half baked potato - you taste it and spit it out of your mouth.

It is just a matter of time - if something is not done on a war footing that what should be a Black History Month will be a Black Mockery Month.

Blacks must gather in numbers, unite ourselves, and take back what is duly ours - bring out the best and make our ancestors proud. That is if we have some balls.

If left to the enemy the authors of "gentrification"  - all that is Black and the history that must be portrayed right - will be left to those that will shred the good and paint Blacks minus the stellar  deeds of the great Blacks of the past - as good for nothing. Wake up before it is too late.

The House Negro and the Field Negro: