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Thursday, March 26, 2015


                                      LARRY PEOPLES

In the mid 1980s - many of us who worked at the Presidio of San 
Francisco - stopped at the Ferry Building - before we went to work - in the wee hours of the morning - I stood for a ride as early as 5:15 am - Monday thru Friday.

Hundreds of workers from all over - who drove by the Ferry Building on their way to the Presidio - and many of us got a ride from our co-workers - right to our offices at the Presidio.

The Presidio of San Francisco - a Federal entity and open Military Base - which was run by Sixth U.S. Army and Presidio of San Francisco.

Most of us arrived around 5:30 am at the Ferry Building - some took the Bart and walked to the Ferry Building. Others took San Francisco MUNI - and walked to the Ferry Building.

In those days the Longshoremen would gather by the Ferry Building - to report to the Longshoremen Dispatch - who in turn would - assign the Longshoremen their assignments and locations. 

Many of them went to work at the Port of Oakland - which has a robust container business and large cranes to accomplish the loading of millions of tons of cargo and some of them found work here in San Francisco.

On certain days - the Longshoremen would come to pick up their checks. You met all sorts of people - early in the morning - and most of them were disciplined and friendly.

For some years before the 1989 Earthquake struck San Francisco - there was a reporting office at the Ferry Building - people had to report to their Parole Officers.

There were a number of Coffee shops - and we all picked our favorite coffee and our pastries - some their sandwiches - we all had our favorite places to eat and made small talk - before we caught our rides to the Presidio of San Francisco.

It was at this time - I met Larry Peoples - who kept the area around the Ferry Building - north to Fisherman Wharf clean.

The man was tall and strong - but what struck me most when I saw Larry Peoples - was his infectious smile.

I also met Larry Peoples on the MUNI 25 bus - that is no longer 25. You now have the MUNI 9 and 9L - we always greeted each other and had some choice subjects in common - to talk about.

Larry Peoples was a hard working Black man - a Laborer but also one who was kind and very helpful - to anyone that wanted help.

Often time I saw him give directions - and most of the San Francisco Port Authority personnel - loved Larry Peoples. He was the SF Port Authority's official Ambassador at ground zero. 

Recently after 28 years of service at age 80 years - Larry Peoples retired. I got a glimpse of him on the television - at one of the recent San Francisco Port Authority Commission meetings.

Larry Peoples was honored - all those who spoke at this event - had good things to say about Larry Peoples.

He is still active at 80 years.

I learned on Valentine's Day he had a chocolate box for all the ladies who worked at the San Francisco Port Authority - some 100 plus chocolate boxes.

The ladies will sure miss Larry Peoples smile - and remember him - for a long, long time.

On the 150th Anniversary of the San Francisco Port Authority - I put on an exhibit -  at very short notice - with two weeks of preparation on the Buffalo Soldiers.

We had this exhibition at Pier One - the main office of the SF Port Authority.

The all Black 9th and 10th Calvary - the 24th and 25th Infantry all Black Soldiers - who were commanded by White Officers.

We put on this first class exhibition with the help of Anthony Powell by good friend - who I first met - when I worked at the Presidio of San Francisco.

Of the many White commanding officers - one stands out -
 General Pershing - better known as Black Jack - who loved his Buffalo Soldiers.

On the Main Post at the Presdio of San Francisco - stands a tall flag post - and a square named after General Pershing.

Captain Charles Young a well educated Captain from West Point - a Black - led the 9th Calvary troops in 1903 from the Presidio of San Francisco - all the way to General Grant (Kings Canyon) National Park.

Captain Charles Young was instrumental in writing the Standards Operating Procedures - how to manage the Federal Lands - his manual was used by the National Park Service - when they were established in 1916.

The Buffalo Soldiers also accompanied President Theodore Roosevelt to the Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks - the first African American troops to be given this honor.

Earlier in 1898 seasoned troops all Black Buffalo soldiers fought side by ride with Theodore Roosevelt's volunteer "Rough Riders" in Cuba.

During that war five Buffalo Soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor and 28 others received Certificates of Merit.

Before the National Park Service was formed that we know of in 1916 - to Preserve and Protect - the Buffalo Soldiers monitored and maintained - what were then called the Federal Lands - today know as the Nationals Parks - Yosemite, Sequoia, and so on.

Today in 2015 Blacks in San Francisco have forgotten their history - and so Larry Peoples and I made small talk - about big things that those things that matter.

Today, at the San Francisco Port - not everything is rosy - and not everyone of color is treated well.

The SF Port Authority has FAILED to acknowledge the contribution of the First People who were here for over 10,000 years. Much as it has not done enough for people of color - and more Blacks who deserve - better.

The Railway that started right in front of the Ferry Building - the famous Porters - other people of color that the SF Port Authority historians and those in charge - have failed to acknowledge as I was stated - and less note as an integral part of the San Francisco Port Authority history - and the history of San Francisco.

Blacks like Larry Peoples made history in San Francisco by sheer tenacity, fortitude, hard work - and proved themselves second to none.

Many Buffalo Soldiers embarked at the Ferry Building, and at Lower Fort Mason - which is named Fort Black Point. Few people know that - and as the years pass - people will say Black Point and know nothing beyond those two words.

Named - more - to remember the Black Buffalo Soldier who sailed to the Philippines after defeat of Spain in Cuba - they all gathered at Lower Fort Mason, here in San Francisco, California - after winning the war in Cuba - to serve our Nation and quell the rebellion in the Philippines.

Larry Peoples always stood alone doing simply things in an extraordinary way. Larry always looked at the glass half-full - and never express the hardship, the adversities, the hurdles, and the many hurdles - he over came.

Much like the Buffalo Soldiers who accompanied the settlers, built forts and roads, and developed the West.

Had it not been for the Buffalo Soldiers - the West would not have been populated - and more the White settlers - protected.
It was the same - the all Blacks soldiers - the Buffalo Soldier who patrolled the Mexican border.

Years later their remain were brought to the Presidio of San Francisco and interred at the National Cemetery at the Presidio of San Francisco - closer to the Main Post.

There are over 500 Buffalo Soldiers interred at the Presidio of San Francisco and all documented. We did the spade work - and the National Park Service took time to acknowledge that fact - but in acknowledging the fact - the small fire now has grown bigger - and spread far and wide.

Unlike other cities - Blacks for sure were here in San Francisco from the inception - had warehouses, bath houses, schools, over 15 newspapers, run companies small and big.

Built churches many have celebrated their 150 Anniversary before the 150 Anniversary of the SF Port Authority's Ferry Building.

We all know this but we have failed to acknowledge these facts and accomplishments of the many Blacks who stood out and did things and accomplished projects - in an extraordinary - manner.

The contemporary Blacks newspapers are busy pandering to rogue developers like Lennar - and sell out their community. They fail to provide the require information - the best information to provide stellar education - they have failed to comprehend the very purpose of a newspaper and the inherent holistic - benefits.

I was listening to the San Francisco Port Authority Commissioners - the last Commission hearing - and the comments of sorts - small talk and nothing worthy to note.

They rubber stamp and more the current Commissioners - their failure with the 8 Washington project, the Pier 70 project - will expose their sordidness and their ineptness.

I thought to take this opportunity to reveal the high standards of a Black laborer - who did his job well and with a smile won the hearts to too many people - who came in contact with him.

Tourists, others the many  SF Port Authority workers - Management as well - and those the irk out a living - pay check to pay check.

The many restaurant - including Sinbad's that lost its lease - a landmark restaurant - that fell prey to the GREED of the SF Port Authority - time will tell. Larry will miss Sinbad's - as much as I will - but as I said - time will tell.

Larry Peoples was one simple, Black decent man with a Big heart and fostered Hope and good wishes for all those he met and thought about. He has no clue about this blog - over the months some one will print this blog and hand it to him.

I can picture him smiling - and saying oh Francisco - he writes - " man I never knew that" - now you know.

I wish him all the very best - and to his family - I say God bless you all.