Saturday, December 8, 2007

Bayview History Preservation Project Grows

Residents filled the Bayview Branch Library's community room on a busy and rainy Thursday evening last week to talk about Bayview Hunters Point history and how those who live in the neighborhood can best preserve it.

The group heard from member groups of the Bayview Footprints Collaboration of Community-Building Groups about a tour of the heart of the Bayview and a campaign to increase residents' pride and participation in the life of our neighborhood, then focused in on one of Footprints' founding member groups - the Bayview History Preservation Project.

The BHPP was founded at the Bayview Branch Library by Linda Brooks-Burton, Tom Kennedy and Larry Ware earlier this year. After a successful launch event in May, the project went on to deepen its archive of oral histories, emphasizing the rich history of the African American community in the Bayview Hunters Point.

The meeting on Thursday was Bayview Footprints most recent effort to enlarge the circle of interest in the history of the neighborhood. Discussion participants were unanimous with regard to the need for our community's history to be inclusive, and for diverse representation in the development of archives, exhibits, tours and other aspects of telling a balanced story.

Individual comments included:

- The history of the rodeo and round-ups is important.
- Open space on Bayview Hill is almost forgotten.
- We are fortunate that now we can communicate with groups it was difficult to communicate with 50 years ago due to language barriers (including the French, Italian and Maltese immigrant communities).
- We need to address new language barriers.
- An ad in the Bayview Newspaper might attract interest in oral histories.
- BVHP Seniors are a big asset in terms of history.
- We shouldn't forget about those who don't now live in the neighborhood, but once did.
- Italian fishermen on Thomas spread their nets in the street to work on them.
- Our present and future are important too (and we should participate in public meetings).
- We should record current events, as they will become history.
- The history of older businesses is important.

Thank you to all the residents who came to participate in this seminal discussion. A special thanks to the Hunters Point Shipyard artist community which was especially well-represented. A shared desire to better connect the Bayview and Hunters Point communities via the arts is history in the making!

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