San Francisco State University Historical Context

SFSU Department of History 1600

Holloway Ave., SF, CA 94132


FAX: 415.338.7539

World War II was a watershed moment in American history. The demand for increased production in military industries was accompanied by the massive migration of people to urban and industrial centers across the country, including the cities of San Francisco, Richmond, and Oakland in northern California. While wartime mobilization in the United States opened up social and economic opportunities for people of color, it also illuminated stark contradictions in American society. The “War for Democracy” was fought with a Jim Crow army, and America continued to embrace the doctrine of white supremacy at home while fighting against fascism abroad. The incongruity between official proclamations of freedom and the oppression of daily life spurred civil rights activists to fight for full equality throughout the postwar years, despite McCarthyism and entrenched racism.  

Resistance to the violence of Jim Crow had long been a staple of black political life in America, but the decision passed down in 1954 by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education signaled a new era in the push for civil rights. Successive campaigns against discrimination and social segregation focused on the rigid racial order of the South. The bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, sit-ins at a segregated lunch counters and businesses, school desegregation campaigns, and other organized mass protests, as well as the acts of intimidation and violence committed by the defenders of white supremacy pushed racism and the question of civil rights into the media spotlight. The freedom struggle entered a distinct phase in the early 1960s as students and young people organized new groups such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to combat discrimination.

By the summer of 1963, as the country anticipated the historic March on Washington, civil rights activists in the North and West focused on conditions both at home and across the nation. In the San Francisco Bay Area, informed by developments in the South and in response to local conditions of discrimination and racism, various individuals and groups joined forces to push for social and economic justice.


 Dubois Club Materal

Black Dialogue Cover - Magazine of DuBois Club

DuBois Club of America (Oct, 1965)

DuBois Club Pamphlet

DuBois Club Pamphlet

DuBois Club Pamphlet (front)

DuBois Club Pamphlet (page 2)

DuBois Club Pamphlet (page 3)

DuBois Club Pamphlet (page 4)

DuBois Club Pamphlet (page 5)

DuBois Club Pamphlet (page 6)

DuBois Club Symbol


Cole and Finis material courtesy of Friends of San Francisco Public Library & the San Francisco African-American Historical and Cultural Society, San Francisco Public Library.

Josephine Cole Oral History

Josephine Cole Oral History (page 1)

Josephine Cole Oral History (page 2)

Josephine Cole Oral History (page 3)

Josephine Cole Oral History (page 4)

Josephine Cole Oral History (page 5)

Josephine Cole Oral History (page 6)

Josephine Cole Oral History (page 7)


Kenneth Finis Oral History

Kenneth Finis Oral History (page 1)

Kenneth Finis Oral History (page 2)

Kenneth Finis Oral History (page 3)


Other Material

Carl Bloise Article (People's World, 3/24/64) (Cont'd)

"Pickets, 'Shop-Ins" Mark Renewed Drive for Jobs for Negroes in SF Bay Area" (People's World, 2/29/64)

"This Could be THE Battle for Negroe Representation" (People's World, 2/1/64)

HERE Local 28, Box 6 - Local 31, Minutes, 1963 (Courtesy of the Labor Archives Research Center, San Francisco State University)

On the March on Washington and the beginnings of the SF sit-in movement.

Harold Supriano

Tamam Tracy Moncur

(Formerly Tracy Sims)

SF March in Support of Birmingham, Alabama Bombing Victims

Birmingham Bomb

Photo courtesy of San Franciso History Center, San Francisco Public Library


Master's Thesis by Larry Raphael Salomon: The Movement for Jobs in Civil Rights Era San Francisco, 1963 - 1964


Dispatcher Articles, 1963 - 1964

"200, 000 Pledge to Carry on Fight"

"A Right is a Right, Right Now"

"Business as Usual"


"Labor - Negroe Victory Hailed"

"More Devoted to Order than Justice"

"San Francisco Answers Birmingham"

"A National Danger"

"CA Labor Fears Increase of Racism"

"Don't Sign Bias Petition"

"Expect Huge SF Civil Rights Walk"

"Mississippi Freedom Summer"

"Operation Push Away"

"SF Clerks Reaffirm Coast Rule Against Discrimination"

"The People Say 'No'"

"United We Stand the Test"