Before heading out last weekend to document peaceful protests taking place throughout Atlanta, I watched the documentary film “Take This Hammer.” In the film, James Baldwin visits San Francisco, and Orville B. Luster escorts Baldwin through the city’s Black neighborhoods. Together, the two visit and inquire about the needs and experiences shared by San Francisco’s African American residents.
Filmmaker Richard O. Moore produced “Take This Hammer” for KQED’s National Education Television in the Spring of 1963. Many of the social inequalities experienced by San Francisco’s Black community in the 1963 film remain a concern today. Gentrification, jobs and livable wages, and racially biased policing, to name a few.
Images 1: Black Lives Matter banner draped over Atlanta’s Jackson street bridge. Photographed Saturday, June 6, 2020. The Booker T. Washington Hotel is featured in this scene.
Images 2: James Baldwin shares his thoughts on the average living conditions for African Americans.
Image 3: San Francisco resident discusses his experience with local police.