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Explore Bay Area Social Movement History

Neighborhood Newspapers of San Francisco
A Digital Scanning Project, a collaborative of SF neighborhood history groups comprised of: Acción Latina, Bernal History Project, Potrero Hill Archives, Shaping San Francisco, Visitacion Valley History Project, Western Neighborhoods Project, Noe Valley Voice, and YOU?

We identified several underutilized large collections of neighborhood history in the form of neighborhood newspapers—some now out of print—which we are working together with the Internet Archive to digitize and make available as historical resources.

Explore the project!

Unsettlers: Migrants, Homies, and Mammas in the Mission
Adriana Camarena's interviews and ruminations on the populations living cheek-by-jowl in San Francisco's Mission District

In Adriana Camarena's new work the most precarious residents of the Mission are the central storytellers. Theirs are historic tales of Californian daily life: Indigenous migrants on their day off from construction or cooking on the line, watch movies inside their shared group apartments. Parents, raising children in the Mission, fend off poverty by working hard, with the result that their dutifulness sometimes translates into absence for their kids. Lost in plain sight, young kids in gangs troll the neighborhood flexing their muscles over territorial disputes, and seasoned convicts in their twenties run the drug exchange at corner depots. War veterans and the mentally ill fill the neighborhood shelters, while the neighborhood gentrifies around them. These are stories of abandon, but also of love, loyalty, laughter, and a fierce will to survive adversity. (Originally housed here at shapingsf.org, the project is now on its own website.)

The Walking-Audio TourBending Over Backwards

Bending Over Backwards Tour
Spanning SOMA to North Mission, 2 murals and 6 audio stops

Bending Over Backwards (BOB) is a multi-site and multi-media permanent installation consisting of two-dimensional murals of trapeze artists linked by an audio walking tour between the sites that reveals social, cultural, political, and environmental histories. Trapeze artists (painted on wood cut-outs and attached to the wall) are pictured in two neighborhoods of San Francisco, the Mission and SOMA, in an electrifying peak moment of their craft, embodying a mixture of whimsy, pathos and a sense of extraordinary possibility in their gravity-defying feat.

Bending Over Backwards explores the high wire act that thriving in today’s world can be, providing visual and audio metaphors for tenacious, exhilarating and daring flights made in the attempt to realize one’s dreams. The trapeze artists’ success is possible only with great discipline, communication, strength, teamwork, vision and humor; echoing some of the skills necessary for a viable life in late stage capitalism of the twenty first century. For example: there have been several installations of BOB which have not survived the onslaught of gentrification. However, after a set of figures has been ‘disappeared’ another set of figures soon emerges. The elements of time, history, memory and tenacity are embodied in these appearances and disappearances. Click here.

Ecology Emerges poster art by Mona Caron

Ecology Emerges
Discussions and reflections on the history of Bay Area ecological activism, based on oral histories documenting the past 50 years.

Ecology Emerges is an oral history gathering project to explore the past 50 years of ecological activism in the Bay Area and the role that individual and institutional memories play in the development, policy proposals, and interrelationships that together make up the existing networks of ecological politics.  We document the living ecological activist movement, in their own words, but also in a larger context of urban growth and globalization. More…

Ten Years That Shook the City

Ten Years That Shook the City
A California Book Award Gold Medal winner!

Check out the 24-stop audio tour crisscrossing the City, where you can hear excerpts from many authors reading their own essays. Click here.