David Johnson: In the Zone (1945-1965)
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David Johnson: In the Zone (1945-1965)

San Francisco Arts Commission
1 Doctor Carlton B Goodlett PlaceSan FranciscoCA 94102
Free Admission
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David Johnson was born in 1926 in the segregated South near Jacksonville, FL. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he moved to San Francisco to study at the California School of Fine Arts (later renamed the San Francisco Art Institute) in the newly formed Photography Department led by renowned photographer Ansel Adams. Johnson was the first Black artist to graduate during what is now known as the program's "Golden Decade" from 1945 to 1955. Johnson focused his camera on day-to-day life, with special emphasis on the Black community in his Fillmore District neighborhood from 1945 into the 1960s, before redevelopment in the 1970s changed the demographic of the community forever. He photographed passersby as well as friends, gathering spots like churches and barbershops, children playing and teens hanging out, dance halls and jazz clubs, and the fight for civil rights. His historic work is particularly resonant today as our city and our country reckons with the legacies of systemic oppression and the contemporary realities of racial injustice and inequity for Black Americans. Open Mon-Fri 8 am–6 pm

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