SAN FRANCISCO - To many African American people in San Francisco, the Fillmore Heritage Center represents perhaps their last chance to re-establish what they say has been lost in the Fillmore District – their heritage.
"This building is a right for us to return and have culture," says San Francisco Reparations Committee member Gloria Berry.
Dozens of African-American leaders and residents, among them actor Danny Glover who grew up in the city, rallied in front of the Heritage Center asking the city to help transfer the empty building to a Black-run organization that will use it to promote African American arts and culture.
"If it brings real dialogue, not adjustments but some real dialogue and some reparative justice, then we won," says Glover.
There was a time when the Fillmore was known as ‘Harlem of the West’. It was a predominantly Black neighborhood during World War II.
But after the war came urban renewal. That forced out most of the old residents who could no longer afford to live here.
"It wasn't about re-development. It was about Black removal," says rev. Amos Brown, president of the NAACP's San Francisco Chapter.
He is demanding reparations. He wants the city and redevelopment agency, which currently owns the vacant building that once housed Yoshi's jazz club, to transfer control to the Black community.
"Deliver justice, fairness, and inclusion for the culture, the history, and the good sense of the African American community," said Brown.