Thursday, August 25, 2011

San Francisco African American Historical & Cultural Society

In the next few days I'm going to be posting a very interesting interview that I had with Al Williams, President of the S.F. African American Historical & Cultural Society.

Before I post it I thought I would give you some idea about what the organization does and a bit of history.

Here's a portion of my interview with Al

Q - There are a lot of people who probably don't know exactly what the organization does. Would you give us a little background? 

A - In the traditions of many African countries, the “Griot” serves as the collective memory, historian, story teller, inspiration and the transmitter of the culture to future generations.  For the past 56 years (1955 – 2011) the San Francisco African American Historical & Cultural Society (the “Society”) has served as the “Griot” of San Francisco’s African American community.

The Society’s library and archives are located on the second floor of the African American Art and Culture Complex at 762 Fulton Street in San Francisco.

Inspired by the Civil rights struggles in the South and liberation struggles in Africa, the Society was founded in 1955 with the merger of the San Francisco chapter of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, organized by Frances Reston Miller, and the San Francisco Negro Historical & Cultural Society, headed by James Herndon.  The merged group kept the name of the latter.  The Society is the lineal descendant of African American literary, cultural and advocacy associations like the Anthenaeum Library that was founded by Blacks in San Francisco in 1853.

Since its inception the Society has become an invaluable resource for anyone seeking accurate accounts of the culture and history of San Francisco's African-American community as well as neighboring cities.  The Society was the first, and for a long time the only, African-American institution in the western United States that offered a wide range of historical and cultural information and served the needs of the young, middle-aged and senior populations on a consistent basis.

The Society was founded to:
  • fight for equality and justice for people of African descent;
  • promote an accurate understanding of the role people of African descent have played in world history;
  • collect materials depicting and recording the contributions made by African-Americans to world history and American culture;
  • provide the public with materials and knowledge concerning people of African descent; and 
  • establish and maintain an African-American cultural center in San Francisco. 
Membership in the Society is open to anyone who subscribe to the goals and objectives of the Society.

Throughout it's history the Society has fulfilled it's mission by collecting, preserving and presenting factual accounts of people of African descent in San Francisco and the Bay Area, organizing and presenting exhibits that tell the stories of people of African descent, annually hosting the Black History Month Kick-off Program at City Hall, presenting lectures on subjects of interest to its members and genealogical research.

Please stop back on Monday for the full interview!


Toni said...

I think I met him when I went to a meeting prior to picking the architect for the center, when I was working for the architects in SF. At that meeting Willie Brown was taking up most of the space, but they were talking about locating somewhere near the MOMA in the area where the jazz clubs used to be (or maybe still ignorance of SF is astounding). It would be a great place to get your jewelry shown!

Anonymous said...

Just sharing some information

devon said...

Thank you

devon said...

Yes, you may have met him. Unfortunately I am finished with the jewelry. Just never had the resources to do what I wanted. Now would be dangerous with the little doggies sniffing around LOL Kiln has been in the closet for over 3 yrs. Really need to put it up for quick sale. Know anyone here who could use it? I will donate it I find no one.