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San
Francisco has a rich Jazz history with numerous significant clubs and music
centers all throughout the 49-square mile city of San Francisco from North
Beach to the Tenderloins, and more distinctly, the Fillmore. This bustling and
ever-expanding Jazz scene throughout the district from just after the second world
war, up until the mid-to-late-60’s, was as many critiques argue, highly
representative and symbolic of the golden era of Modern Jazz, as well as the
golden era of the Fillmore district as the central gathering place of San
Francisco’s Black community. San Francisco Jazz culture truly aims to follow
the history of the diverse African American community, and its main goal is
none other than continue its progression (Harlem of the West, UCSC).

Before
WWII, modern jazz in the swing and bebop varieties was actually doing pretty
well in popularity in the Central Avenue portion of LA, but SF was still mainly
focused with Dixieland. Through the 1940s, daring new clubs were brought to
life in the Tenderloin and North Beach neighborhoods, offering new forms of
Jazz to San Franciscans. They got to it voraciously. Time came the mid-1950s,
various jazz night clubs were found all throughout the SF neighborhoods (Harlem
of the West UCSC).

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Drummer
Earl Watkins reminisces that:

It’s
likely you have four clubs in a city block, one on each side of the road. And
you bypass several more blocks and then you have another handful of clubs.
You’d see the Club Alabam, that was one of your old set up jazz night clubs. It
later became club Sullivan. Next door was the brand new, New Orleans Swing club.
That they had a type of girls within. The guys got excellent rings. On Fillmore
between Sutter and Post, you’d Elsie’s Breakfast club. And later you’d Harold
Blackshear’s Cafe World. Then down the stop was the club called The Favor. Next
door from that was the Havana club, and when you transpired the next stop,
Fillmore between Post and Geary, you’d be at The Long Bar, which acquired Ella
Fitzgerald as one of their acts. (Watkins Malcom, Jazz Culture)

          After
another handful of blocks and you’d be at The Blue Mirror. Then across from the
Blue Mirror, that they had the Ebony Plaza Hotel. Inside the basement, that
they had a club. If you travelled up Fillmore to Ellis Block, you’d be at the
Booker T. Washington Hotel. And on the ground floor, in their lounge, that they
had entertainment. The Fillmore, North Beach, the Tenderloin, the Waterfront. San
Francisco was jumping to the challenge of forward jazz music.

During
the early on 1950s, even the U.S. participation in the Korean Conflict played a
tiny role in attracting musicians to SF. The Bay Area was home to, or went to
by, many a musician in armed forces attire. Normally as he could, John Handy went
back to SF from his Military base just south of his home, to perform and
observe before his redeployment to Korea. Chet Baker was a handsome white guy, with
Armstrong trumpet capabilities, and a lot of energy. Over time, much of a
nearby community had hit rock bottom, and the SF Redevelopment Agency had
chosen it as a location looking for metropolitan renewal. In payment and
reparations to the Japanese population that were displaced during WWII, a fresh
Japantown was built.

 This building led to the closing of all
businesses that got occupied the old complexes and the dispersal of the family
members who possessed dwelt there. Holidaymakers today will see a massive
multiplex theatre, apartment complexes, hotels, and numerous Japanese
restaurants dominating the region, with a loan company at the location where
Bop City once stood. Buchanan Road has been sealed to vehicular traffic, and
there is absolutely no such address as 1690 Post Road.

The
Black and African communities in America have been an integral part of SAN
FRANCISCO BAY AREA since prior to the Gold Hurry. The city’s Dark colored
population found its best increase, however, during WWII. Hailing generally
from Louisiana and Texas, the newcomers have been recruited to work in Bay Area
shipyards.  Many resolved into homes in the
American Addition just lately vacated by San Franciscans of Japanese descent
who was simply forced, under Leader Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Professional Order
9066, to relocate to internment camps.

As
the warfare progressed and removing so many Japanese people had occurred, the
European Addition became home to a large number of African-Americans who
originated from the southern USA to work in SF’s shipyards with other wartime
businesses. The city’s existing but small Black colored inhabitants exploded.
The vacant homes remaining in the Fillmore by interned Japanese residents had
fascinated African-American workers, music artists, and artists. It had been
also at the moment that the Fillmore started out to build up a reputation to be
home for some of the world’s best jazz music artists as well as a few of the
most popular jazz clubs in SF.

Over
the next 2 decades, a noticeable African American existence created its
placement and standing in the Western Addition community around the Fillmore
Neighborhood. This included a captivating jazz and rhythm-and-blues nightclub
world that included such designers such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong,
Billie Holiday break, Matter Bassie, Thelonious Monk, and Ella Fitzgerald. When
Justin Herman had taken control of the SF Redevelopment Firm in 1959, however,
he oversaw the destruction of a lot of the Fillmore and the constructive
eviction of Black residents from a nearby, bringing a finish to the Fillmore
jazz time. Adam Baldwin’s 1963 documentary, “Take This Hammer,”
addresses the fallout. 

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