San Francisco, CA - Supervisor Malia Cohen yesterday introduced an urging resolution to establish the San Francisco African-American Freedom Trail. The trail, which extends between Fort Mason and Visitacion Valley, includes nearly 400 points of interest highlighting the contributions, culture and history of San Francisco’s African American population. The points of interest will be showcased with commemorative plaques.
The San Francisco African-American Freedom Trail is the first of its kind in the Western states and joins similar trails in 30 other major United States metropolitan areas.
“Gaining an understanding and appreciation of these contributions is critical to preserving and uplifting our city’s African American community,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen. “San Francisco’s very own rich African American ancestry can be found in the unlikeliest of places, and I am proud to lead the effort in sharing these contributions with our city and visitors of our city.”
"The Trail is designed to generate an additional 500,000 visitors to San Francisco and bring more than $200 million yearly in economic impact to neighborhoods like Bayview Hunters Point by the Super Bowl season in 2016.” Said John William Templeton, - Managing Director, Venturata Group Inc. and co-founder National Black Business Month
“The broad diversity of San Francisco - coupled with our inclusionary and welcoming environment toward all ethnicities and walks of life – has always been one of the most compelling selling points of our city,” said President and CEO Joe D’Alessandro, San Francisco Travel Association. “The official recognition of the African-American Trail will help attract visitors by ensuring the African American community is prominently and accurately portrayed both domestically and internationally as an integral member of San Francisco’s richly diverse family.”
The Trail features significant events, person and landmarks over the past 200 years, including Dr. Maya Angelou, Captain William Alexander Leidesdorff and five African-American organizations founded in 1852 and are still active today – Third Baptist Church, Bethel A.M.E., First A.M.E. Zion, Hannibal Lodge No. 1 and Victoria Lodge No. 3.
Templeton has worked in collaboration with San Francisco Travel on marketing of the trail and negotiated a three year agreement to display the trail on the San Francisco Travel site.
"Without the many important contributions of people of African descent, San Francisco would not be the great world class city it is today" said Al Williams, President of the San Francisco African American Historical & Cultural Society. "Indeed, people of African descent who were present in Alta California long before it was a part of the United States have continued to play important roles in the shaping the history of San Francisco and the State of California. It is fitting and proper that this Freedom Trail be established to ensure that future generations are reminded of the contributions African Americans have made and continue to make to San Francisco."
An exhibition showcasing the trail has been presented over the past year at such venues as the Fairmont Hotel, Pier One and the Rafiki Wellness headquarters. The effort to move this forward will be a collaborative process between the community, public-private partnerships, and community based organizations.