The Great Black out Of San Francisco. Part 1



And no! I am no means talking about power outages. This next upcoming series will be talking exclusively about the Black Americans in San Francisco. We will go back to the Gold Rush era, talk about all the wars (From the Civil War to present), Economics, Sports, Culture, Climate, Politics, Unemployment, Crime, Entertainment, Drugs, and even Housing. We will bring you this series little by little to help you as the reader understand what it is like to be a Black American in San Francisco today.  When you read the title, what do you think I am talking about? Do you think it’s  power? Wealth? Opulence? Success? History? Unity? Etc? We are going to talk about all of that today. Before we start (dammit why does he always preface things) I must tell you that this piece was a long time coming. I’ve worked tirelessly on interviewing folks, researching intricate facts, tapping my memory banks to access my personal experiences, reading, and most of all observing. The Black Out of San Francisco is exactly what it is. The Blacks are out of the city. Hence BLACKOUT. My goal is to not only make people aware but hopefully, there is one person who reads this, and says “by dam that dude is right.” I will be referencing a few books throughout this series. The 1st book is entitled “Images of America, African-Americans of San Francisco by Jan Batiste Adkins.” The 2nd book is entitled “Black San Francisco: The struggle for racial equality in the west. 1900-1954.” Please enjoy and I thank you infinitely for taking time out of your day to check us out.

         2nd WARNING

 Wait, oh shit in typical Tareau fashion I forgot to tell you this. Considering that I am a so-called writer, I am going to do things completely unorthodox. Instead of presenting to you an array of information at once, I am going to give you little tid bits of info. You see no one wants to be bombarded with stuff that they are faking an interest on. (Did I just accuse my readers of being fake) Probably? Honestly ask yourself before you get into the meat and potatoes of the story. “Do I really care?” I care. Do you? If you choose yes, than you will come to appreciate my writing styles and my ADHD-esq writing formats (Jumping from place to place) If not than there are several of millions, if not billions of writers in this world that is for you. This topic is a sensitive one and by today’s standards, it should be handled with a delicately.  Well FUCK THAT. It’s truth time in here. It’s time once again to challenge yourself to put yourselves in someone elses shoes. Get out of your comfort zone and get your hands dirty. Slum it up. Low Brow it.


I think I warned you enough. I don’t apologize one bit for what I am about to say. Today, living in San Francisco, You can literally go miles without seeing a black person. San Francisco overnight has become
King’s Landing. Game Of Thrones. Basically I am just saying that this is what San Francisco has become. A playground for White and Asian people while the Black and Brown people live in Flea Bottom
While these Slums represent San Francisco’s Black and Brown Population.
Kings Landing in the Game of Thrones while the colored people all reside in Flea Bottom. Basically a big twinkie. Nothing but Asians and Whites. It’s true. You don’t know how many times I’ve been in places here in my own city, where I am the only black person there. Do you think our counterparts of the fairer skin ever notices? Do you think they say “Well I’ll be a son of a gun, there are no black or brown people here.” (Latinos included). I don’t know how many times I’ve walked from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Bay Bridge (a 6.1 mi Walk) and only saw 1 other Black person. Come on San Francisco. That’s a slap in the face. For a city who prides itself on equality, and freedom, they sure did a great job of hiding us didn’t they?  Let us step inside my head for a minute and get my perspective on this. I’ll use 2 examples so you can kind of comprehend where I am coming from.



                    1st example

When I go to beautiful place in San Francisco like Golden Gate Park, and I see these little kids from great preschools, great prominent families full of energy, fresh-faced and all, There are no Black or Brown children with them at all. The children are our future and imagine that they are being cheated out of the truth. Being cheated out of getting to know some of the greatest human beings ever. And imagine that a lot of these innocent little kids, will only identify to Black cultural from what the masses tells them. From the negative shit that they see on ESPN or BET. To stories from their parents. They will think that every Black person is LiL Wayne, or that every Black girl can twerk. Or that we are all fast, beautiful, talented dancing singing mofos. No one ever identifies or pair Black culture with innovators or brilliance. (Partly our fault as well) It’s sad but true. Just think if you meet a new neighbor and they are not Black, You yourself, might be the only Black  representation that those folks will ever see. That’s how our culture is so clouded, because as diverse as our Black skin is, only a handful of people will actually identify with the roots of it. Some of us have become Unofficial Black Spokespersons just from being around a certain demographic. (Or the TOKEN BLACK GUY if you will) When I meet new people who are White or Asian and they live here in San Francisco, that is always in the back of my head. Like “Wow, I might be the first Black person these people are meeting.” Tremendous pressure right? Wrong! You are who you are. It’s our job to educate people about how wide our spectrum as people is.


                  2nd Example

As you know, I am a Bus Driver. I was also a Tour Guide here in San Francisco for 4 years. Yes a driver guide doing lectured and narrative tours of the city. I took pride in the Job. There’s fast money to be made in the summer months. When tourism is high and for me it was easy. I would interact from people from the world and they loved it. Some what of an entertainer. Hell you can tell them lies and they would still love you. Of course like any self-educated brotha from the SOHK (School Of Hard Knocks) you would get the occasional white person to tell you that you speak so good and educated. That is probably the most backhanded compliment ever to me. That aside, when I would get the Prominent Upper Middle Class Black families, they would always pull me aside and ask me “Where’s all the Black people at in San Francisco?” They would pull me aside because honestly, It is a black thing. They are not going to bring up race while other folks who are not black that are around. (Great Decent Black Folks, because COONS would of been like “Hey Tareau, where all the real Niggaz at?”) Plus they didn’t wanna cockblock on my tips. Those were times that I felt like a sellout. An Uncle Tom. Yes me. Here I am, giving an amazing 4 hour tour about how great San Francisco is, but San Francisco doesn’t want our Black ASSES here. Black doctors,Lawyers, Entrepeneurs, Accountants, Writers, Business Owners, would always ask me it. It was really heart breaking to tell them that we are subjected to just hoods or blocks. There are no wealthy or upper middle class neighborhoods in San Francisco anymore. (Which is something we will get into in the future of this series) So Imagine those 2 scenarios. Little kids that are not black in San Francisco, being taught about diversity and Equality but not seeing one black person (except Tareau Barron the bus driver) and when Black People do come to visit this city, they see no one who looks like them.
As you know, Our history is swept under the rug and only is used as the forefront of White guilt during Black History Month, I wish during Black History month, that people was challenged to not use Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Jackie Robinson, and Barack Obama. It seems that unintentionally those names have become the DEFAULT of our history. Not such great leaders and innovators like William Alexander Leidesdorff or Joseph James are never mentioned in our cities inclusion of Black History. Is it not our job to challenge things as American citizens? To ask questions? LMFAO I just learned about these people 7 years ago. 7. Man not one school teacher who was born and raised here in San Francisco ever told me this.
William Alexander Leidesdorff


Please join us next time as we will go back in the past and work our way up to now. Until then stay black and proud. But most importantly, STAY FREE.




  1. I can’t help thinking a big part of the disappearance stems from our collective NOT knowing both our San Francisco history and our history beyond the last hundred or so years. Ultimately, we’ve got to be the ones hungry to know the truth. I’m seeing more of this awakening all the time. A (blessed) sign of the times perhaps?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes even I as a native and a tour guide did not know the whole story of our history. It gave me a purpose again. Mr. John Williams Templeton walked with pride liked he owned the streets. He didn’t have to move out of anyone’s way. That swagger is what we are missing too.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I can’t help thinking again, that swagger you mention, it comes from ‘knowing thy self’, and in the knowing, allowing it to be your strength and foundation in all you do. Not easy for many of us, but for those who have either done very little questioning of their black identity or none at all, it’s a steep mountain to climb… worth it in every way, but steep.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. This is a really insightful post Tareau. Living in Britain, I don’t know that much about San Francisco – so this is really informative for me and it’s great to see it from a Black person’s point of view. There are things that I too have only recently found out about Black history and that is mostly thanks to the Internet and the fact that I have gone searching. NONE of this is taught in schools and the token Black History Month is tokenism in its worst form. I suppose it’s better than nothing at all though. How come there is no Chinese History Month, Japanese History Month? Get me?

    Liked by 3 people

    • There is Asain and Latino heritage months here in California. Black History month was originally a week. If it was up to me, every important person in history would be in my book, from Ceasar Chavez, To Jane Pittman to Winston Churchill etc. San Francisco is the epitome of institutional racism. I was a tour guide for 5 years and I’m born and raised here. I can show you all the FL great sights if you and your husband and family ever come here, and I could show you all the monumental black historical things as well. I got my passport 2 years ago and I’ve yet to put a stamp on it. I want to visit Great Britain so bad.

      Liked by 2 people

      • We don’t have an Asian and Latino month in Britain, so I guess the States is one step ahead. But it’s still not right as far as I’m concerned. We shouldn’t be celebrating no Black History Month – Black peoples place in history should be equal with every body else. How come there is no White History Month? To me Black History Month is just another form of racism – making like they can spare us a month to showcase our achievements. A MONTH for goodness sake???!
        I’ll bear it in mind that I’ve got a personal tour guide when I visit San Francisco.:))

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. I find this to be a great topic as it seems to be a trend with most major cities – pushing the darker hues to the outskirts and suburbs. Not only that, but an increase in toll roads + paid express lane access to get into the major cities. And, I think you remember me saying I used to visit my grandfather + his wife, both very Black, in SF(on Turk St) every spring break? Well there was quite a mix back then in the 90s and early 2000s. I haven’t been in so long, but this information lessens my desire to visit. I’ll have to go elsewhere for my chowder in a bread bowl.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Patience is a virtue Tareau. You will be able to leave when the time is right for you and your children. Right now you are benefitting for education for your sons – try to see that as a bonus. Love and support always, T. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! It seems that we’re getting pushed out of a lot of major cities. I see it where I live. To rent in certain areas…even in the hood prices are rising. This will really push those who can’t afford it out. I believe that Chicago will eventually be like San Francisco and for miles you won’t see a Black or Brown person.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tareau this is a wonderful post. Apparently the original post happened when I was sick late last year because there is no way I would have passed this one by.
    I have a girlfriend who thought about moving to San Fran. She is one of those upwardly mobile black folks you mentioned in the post. But after a visit, she changed her mind.
    Oh yeah, I think that it was so important for you to shine a light on the fact that children will go so school, learn about diversity, yet never see a black person outside of BET. Now that’s some troubling shit!
    I have been hip to this whole idea of pushing brothers and sisters out via gentrification and other means. Deeply troubling!!!!
    It reminds me of all of the people who lost their homes in NOLA during Katrina never to return.
    But you know what? I am most troubled by the black elderly. What the fuck are they supposed to do? Where are they supposed to go and HOW?
    Excellent piece! I will be following the series.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. These movies and TV shows are subtly reparing people for the things that are and are going to happen. Hence Game of Throwns, Walking Dead, Divergent, Hunger Games and so on and so on. They tell people what is going to happen, but since most people are already zombies and watch entertainment all day, the entertainment that they are watching them is preparing them for the slaughter.
    It’s funny how I am trying to build with other positive black people and somehow the internet in the hotel just stops working. You may receive multiple comments from me.


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