Brown, Jeff: Progressive change in the 1960s


Jeff Brown: Well, there were several issues. In 1966, there were riots in San Francisco. There were riots all throughout the United States in 1967 also. There was a large anti-war movement that was percolating at the time and getting larger through the years. The Haight-Ashbury had become a kind of haven for “flower children” as they were called in those days. But there was something else that was happening. By this time, Phil Burton had successfully assisted the election of George Moscone in 1966, the selection of Dick Hongisto as sheriff in 1970, the election of Willie Brown and John Burton in 1964. So he was becoming the premier political figure. Alioto was in his last years. Alioto had gone in in 1968, but these changes were coming in San Francisco, and so what was happening was political liberalism was coming to San Francisco in a big way. It wasn’t a matter of just the old San Francisco against the new San Francisco. The new San Francisco was starting to come back. It wasn’t easy for the progressives. In 1967 for example, John Burton, a liberal assemblyman in his first or second term ran against Milton Marks, and lost by about 4,000 votes. So it didn’t change overnight; it changed gradually, but it was changing. And as a consequence of that, by the late 60’s when the war was raging, and the anti-war movement was raging, the city was becoming more progressive.


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The Moscone oral history interviews are part of the George Moscone Collection, MSS 328.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections and Archives, University of the Pacific Library

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