California Studies Association

The latest news, events, and perspectives from the CSA

San Francisco’s Own Rosa Parks

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In honor of Martin Luther King Day, CSA Steering Committee member Elaine Elinson writes about Charlotte Brown, a young African American woman who challenged the color bar on San Francisco streetcars while the Civil War was still raging and news of the Emancipation Proclamation had not yet reached most slaves.

When young Charlotte Brown refused a San Francisco streetcar conductor’s demand to disembark because “colored persons were not allowed to ride,” she faced a social climate almost as hostile as Rosa Parks did in Montgomery, Ala., in 1954.

But Brown’s challenge came almost a century earlier – on April 17, 1863.

Click here to read the entire piece as featured on Sf Gate.


One thought on “San Francisco’s Own Rosa Parks

  1. When did the first San Francisco street car first appear?

    I know the the city of San Francisco started up from next to nothing in the Gold Rush days of the late 1840s.

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