Nov. 1, 2013 -- San Francisco Travel is partnering with the instructional television network ReUNION: Education-Arts-Heritage to support an exhibition on the African-American Freedom Trail that will be displayed in the historic Fairmont Hotel.

The exhibition will be available for viewing Nov. 4-24, 2013 in the historic Fairmont San Francisco, 950 Mason Street, on the P-Level of the hotel near the Caffe Cento.

The graphic display is designed to build support for a system of signage and registration for hundreds of sites throughout the city highlighting the rich array of commercial and civic contributions African-Americans have made to San Francisco.

African-American Heritage Trails are found in 20 states, established most recently in Mississippi.  The San Francisco African-American Freedom Trail would be the first west of the Mississippi river.  

“San Francisco is enriched by five African-American churches and lodges of historical significance and each of them are more than 160 years old,” said San Francisco Travel President and CEO Joe D'Alessandro.  “It's our job to help promote this rich history and draw visitors to our city.”

Historian John William Templeton, founder of ReUNION, first designed an historic map of San Francisco black history in his 1991 book Our Roots Run Deep: the Black Experience in California, Vol.  1, 1500-1900.

One of the historically significant churches on the trail is the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco.  Dr. Amos C. Brown Jr., senior pastor of Third Baptist Church, notes that over his church’s 161 years of service it has helped build communities of faith throughout San Francisco beginning on Telegraph Hill, site of a state historic landmark, then moving first to Union Square then to Russian Hill and finally to its current location near Alamo Square in August 1852.  Dr. Brown has traveled the country researching his first predecessor, Rev. Charles Satchell.

“Charles Satchell founded churches in Ohio and Kentucky beginning in the 1830s.  He moved to California in the 1850s where he founded Shiloh Baptist in Sacramento and then became pastor and helped build Third Baptist,” noted Dr. Brown.  “After making his mark in the San Francisco faith community, Reverend Satchell went on to become a leading pastor in New Orleans.”

The trail concept is part of the “Students and Scholars Marching for Civil Rights: The 50th Anniversary of the United San Francisco Freedom Movement” project.  Although the leaders of this march, which was the third largest civil rights campaign of 1963, were teenagers and college students, they all report being aware and learning from the history of the Underground Railroad and ongoing movement in San Francisco from the previous century.

“Students and Scholars” is the third exhibit of a trilogy by Templeton completed in 2013.  The first two exhibits include one recognizing the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and a second commemorates the 100th anniversary of the first print reference to jazz.  In four scholarly presentations since 1997, including a Presidential Session for the American Educational Research Association, Templeton has shown a direct impact of these events on economic development, educational achievement, mental health and health disparities.

“Dr. Howard Thurman wrote in “Jesus and the Disinherited” that the first key to empowerment is to give the dispossessed a sense of belonging,” said Templeton.

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