San Francisco's Fillmore Jazz District Celebrates Reemergence with Multi-Venue, Culture and Entertainment-Filled Affair (Feb. 28, 2008) -- African and Japanese Americans Commemorate Shared Experiences of the 1940s and 1950s

Share Article

The San Francisco Housing Development Corporation will celebrate the reemergence of The Fillmore, and commemorate 20 years of service to helping minorities and low-income families achieve financial stability through homeownership. Included among the numerous notable participating San Francisco establishments are the Boom Boom Room, Fillmore Auditorium, Fillmore Jazz Heritage Center, Rasselas Jazz Club, Sheba Lounge, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Lush Life Gallery, Marcus Books and more. Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter Ledisi will headline the impressive array of local entertainment talent.

As so consummately described by Elizabeth Pepin and Lewis Watts in "Harlem of the West: The San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Era," the Fillmore District became the Harlem of San Francisco during World War II with the large migration of African Americans from the South. The Fillmore in the 1940's and 1950's was an eclectic, integrated, and hopping neighborhood dotted with restaurants, pool halls, theaters and shops -- many minority-owned and boasting two dozen active nightclubs and music joints within its one square mile. Although it has been commemorated in songs, poems, and in Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," few people today know of the rich history of the Fillmore and its musical legacy because it vanished abruptly and so thoroughly due to redevelopment in the 1960s.

On Thursday, February 28, 2008, the San Francisco Housing Development Corporation (SFHDC) will celebrate the reemergence of The Fillmore, and commemorate 20 years of service to helping minorities and low-income families achieve financial stability through homeownership. Taking part in the evening celebration are numerous notable San Francisco establishments such as the Boom Boom Room, Fillmore Auditorium. Fillmore Jazz Heritage Center, Rasselas Jazz Club, Sheba Lounge, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Lush Life Gallery and Marcus Books along with other local merchants and corporate sponsors to make this Black History Month Celebration a lively, memorable affair to help revive the neighborhood as the center of music and cultural diversity. SFHDC will also recognize outstanding individuals whose work and achievements have furthered community economic development and cultural diversity in San Francisco.

In reminiscence of 1940's and 50's Jazz icons like Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Billy Holiday, guests will enjoy delectable foods, refreshing libations, fine art and culture. More than 2,000 attendees are expected to stroll through the Fillmore Jazz District to network and socialize with Bay Area professional and corporate leaders, and learn about the important role the district has played in San Francisco history, while enjoying the soulful music of yesterday, today and tomorrow. All-inclusive VIP tickets are $150 (includes exclusive VIP receptions; access to all participating event venues and performances including the Ledisi concert at the Fillmore Auditorium, complimentary cocktails, light faire, "Cultural Diversity in San Francisco" presentation and souvenir journal). Individual general admission is $100 (includes special cocktail discounts and access to all participating event venues and performances -- except the Ledisi concert at the Fillmore Auditorium. Purchase all tickets online at http://www.sfhdcevents.org.

The Bay Area's own soulful Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter Ledisi will headline the impressive array of local entertainment talent that will also include Linda Tillery & the Heritage Choir performing their famed "Survival Music" (spirituals, work songs, field hollers and slave songs); winner of the 2005 Guitar Player of the Year Award, musical director and vocalist Alvon Johnson; soulful jazz and blues songstress Lady Memphis; sensational vibes aficionado Ricky Kelly, and the talented Lorraine Hansberry Theatre Thespians performing captivating skits.

San Francisco's Japantown, one of only three remaining in the United States, dates from the great earthquake and fire of 1906, when the Japanese population united west of the fire line. Uprooted by World War II, the Japanese were replaced mostly by African-Americans, who brought their vibrant musical heritage with them. The area was one of the first to experience the dramatic changes of 1950's urban renewal programs -- which continue. In recent years the area has seen a wealth of Japanese architecture next to the classic Victorians and a rebirth of African-American culture in the Fillmore Jazz Preservation District.

To that end, the National Japanese American Historical Society and Japantown Task Force will actively support the Fillmore Jazz District celebration to commemorate the 1940's and 1950's when both the Japanese and African American communities shared the Western Addition before, and more specifically, after the World War II Japanese-American internment.

Washington Mutual, First Republic Bank, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Wachovia Bank, Bank of America, Comerica Bank, Comcast, Union Bank of California and Lotus Vodka are among the event's generous corporate sponsors. Media sponsors are Black Business Listings, CityFlight.com, Clear Channel Radio, KBLX 102.9, KKSF 103.7, PR, et Cetera, Inc. and Western Edition Newspaper.

About San Francisco Housing Development Corporation:
Since its inception in 1988, San Francisco Housing Development Corporation's (SFHDC) mission has been to foster stability in the city's African-American and immigrant communities through the development of affordable housing and the facilitation of home ownership.

More recently, SFHDC has expanded its scope to include the economic revitalization of underinvested, minority urban areas with the goal of creating quality neighborhood-serving retail businesses to ensure thriving, self-sustaining communities.

To date, SFHDC has developed hundreds of housing units valued at over $60 million in Southeast San Francisco and helped many families become first time homeowners through its on-going housing counseling program. 7,000 square feet of commercial retail space is under development and a $3 million Equity Fund has been created to finance acquisition and commercial development along Third Street and in other low-income neighborhoods. http://www.SFHDC.org

For information about sponsorship and advertising opportunities, ticket sales, and more, please visit http://www.sfhdcevents.org or call Kathleen Greely at 510.459.9493.

Event contact
Jonathon Speed | 415.652.7000

SFHDC Contact
Valerie Wiggins | 415.822.1022

###

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Visit website