1967 — "Police and the Ghetto" meeting in San Francisco

 

By the end of July, 1967, police and poor, black communities across the nation were in a state of tension that had been building for years.  Community anger over police brutality, severe unemployment, and a lack of decent housing had led to riots in Harlem, Philadelphia and Watts.  Businesses were looted and torched and police had killed dozens of people.  The increasing presence of  "Black Power" advocates and new, militant black groups such as the Black Panthers was creating confusion and tension among the building coalition of whites and blacks in the mainstream civil rights movement.

I photographed a July 22, 1967 meeting organized to discuss the topic of "Police and the Ghetto."  The meeting was held in a building called "The Hall of Flowers," in Golden Gate Park.  I recognized a number of black leaders and activists among the largely white, progressive audience.  Speakers included Dr. Thomas Burbridge, head of the San Francisco NAACP, Mark Comfort, community activist, Cassandra Davis, high school teacher, Robert Kaufman, UC Berkeley history graduate and long-time campus activist and Barbara Lindsay, San Jose author and activist.  The meeting was covered by public radio station KPFA, and San Francisco news stations.

This meeting was typical of the way in which the Bay Area progressive community responded to issues at the forefront of their concerns.  They usually gathered with diversity of ethnicity, political leanings, and ages.  

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The audience listens attentively, asks questions and contributes information.

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This gesturing speaker is Dr. Thomas Burbridge, President of the San Francisco NAACP. 

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Robert (Bob) Kaufman, UC Berkeley History graduate student speaks.

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High School teacher Cassandra "Cassie" Davis (now Lopez) speaks

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Mark Comfort, Oakland community activist, speaks in Latino garb.  Lou Hartman, KPFA reporter records Mark's remarks.