Mel’s Drive-In Protest 1963

1960s: Days of Rage


“By the 1960s, San Francisco’s widespread racist employment patterns ushered in a series of social protest movements led by the city’s progressives aimed at promoting equal rights and job opportunities for African American residents of the city. The Civil Rights Movement was expanding northward after major protests in the American South where most of the African American population was concentrated at the time. African Americans were a minority in San Francisco, but racism limited job opportunities and had been prompted the creation in 1958 of a largely ineffective municipal Fair Employment Practices Committee. Among the local businesses in the Bay Area targeted for their discriminatory hiring practices was Mel’s Drive-In, a restaurant chain with locations in San Francisco and Berkeley co-owned by Mel Weiss and City Supervisor Harold Dobbs. The sit-in at Mel’s Drive-In garnered a large number of participants, from local college students to community activists, and became the…

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