SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — This week marks the 50th anniversary of a civil rights demonstration where hundreds of protesters were arrested at car dealerships along San Francisco’s Auto Row.
Focused on economic and racial discrimination, protests were held at Mel’s Drive-In in late 1963, the Sheraton Palace Hotel in March of 1964 and then on April 11th that same year, one of the biggest civil rights demonstrations the city had ever seen was held on Van Ness Avenue’s Auto Row.
Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown was among the demonstrators.
“At that time, San Francisco still had a serious problem hiring African-Americans in significant positions like auto sales [positions] or even hotels. You would think it would have been just the opposite, but it was not.”
Brown recalled the city had trouble with hiring blacks to bar-tending and wait staff jobs in restaurants at the time.