Posted February 4, 1964 by Editorial Staff in 1964

Author James Baldwin visits San Francisco Bayview (1963)

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See and hear author and activist James Baldwin meet with members of the local African-American community in San Francisco in the early 1960s – February 1964 (43:58)

KQED’s mobile film unit follows Baldwin in the spring of 1963, as he’s driven around San Francisco to meet with members of the local African-American community. “Take This Hammer” shows a Baldwin intent on discovering what he called, “the real situation of Negroes in the city, as opposed to the image San Francisco would like to present.” He is escorted by Youth For Service’s Executive Director Orville Luster and declares: “There is no moral distance … between the facts of life in San Francisco and the facts of life in Birmingham. Someone’s got to tell it like it is. And that’s where it’s at.” Includes frank exchanges with local people on the street, meetings with community leaders and extended point-of-view sequences shot from a moving vehicle, featuring the Bayview Hunters Point and Western Addition neighborhoods. Baldwin reflects on the racial inequality that African-Americans are forced to confront and at one point tries to lift the morale of a young man by expressing his conviction that: “There will be a Negro president of this country but it will not be the country that we are sitting in now.”

View more online resources exploring the broader context of Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhoods as part of the Museum of the African Diaspora’s “I’ve Known Rivers” project.

Source: Film courtesy of the Channel Thirteen-PBS in New York archive