In The Black

In The Black is a creative and entrepreneurial marketplace providing Black-owned businesses with access to affordable retail space in the historic Fillmore District.  In a former check cashing outlet, at the bustling corner of Fillmore and Geary, In The Black is carving out a new path focused on Black community empowerment, wealth building, and prosperity. Black entrepreneurs can engage with In The Black by subleasing space on a long-term basis, and via pop-ups, event activations, and selling products on the marketplace’s e-commerce website. In The Black will provide affordable retail space to hundreds of Black-owned businesses over the next decade. 



In The Black is a project of and operated by the San Francisco Housing Development Corporation (SFHDC). SFHDC is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission to foster financial stability for African Americans through the development of affordable housing, the facilitation of homeownership and the economic empowerment and revitalization of Fillmore, Bayview Hunters Point, and other San Francisco neighborhoods. 

We used to call it the Fillmore.
Then it became the 'No More'.
Maybe soon it will be the 'Some More'.

-Reggie Pettus, Chicago Barber Shop

In the 1940s, thousands of Black residents migrated from the Jim Crow South to San Francisco in search of economic opportunities and freedom.  Due to discriminatory redlining practices, the Fillmore, at the time home to the Japanese community, was one of the few neighborhoods in San Francisco where African Americans and other people of color were allowed to rent.

When Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from their homes at the onset of WWII, African Americans stewarded lost homes, gardens, and businesses. In the coming years, thousands of African Americans settled in Fillmore, drawn by the well-paying wartime maritime industry in San Francisco. Hundreds of Black-owned retail shops, restaurants, jazz clubs, and other businesses opened in the neighborhood. Like many communities of color cut off from City-wide resources, the Fillmore became a self-sustaining neighborhood.

In the 1950s, the destructive forces of federally-funded "urban renewal" efforts sought to demolish and transform "slum" neighborhoods into modern developments, displacing thousands of Black, and working class families of color from Fillmore. James Baldwin aptly called urban renewal what is really was, "removal of Negros."

Black residents fought back and insisted their voices be heard before further displacement happened. They organized as the Western Addition Community Organization, and filed a lawsuit against the Redevelopment Agency. Residents won the right to have a voice in the “renewal” of their community.

It was the first time a decision like this was made in U.S. history.

Still, thousands had already been displaced from the neighborhood, and by the time new housing and storefronts were completed in the 1980s, many Black families couldn't afford to return.  In subsequent years, the continued effects of displacement and gentrification of the surrounding neighborhood have stalled the efforts to restore the vibrancy the Fillmore once enjoyed.

Learn  more about the history of the Fillmore by watching the 1999 documentary, “The Fillmore” by KQED

In The Black is a reclamation of physical space by and for the Black community in the Fillmore. In the Black stands alongside the Fillmore’s existing Black businesses, and the wave of new Black businesses that are opening, to bring additional wealth-building and collaborative spaces to the neighborhood. 

In The Black desires to be an example across our nation of community-driven economic development that creates healing, unity, resiliency, and longevity. We thank you for your support of In The Black and Black-owned businesses in San Francisco.

As people of Afrikan descent,
we offer this land recognition in solidarity with the Indigenous peoples of the San Francisco Peninsula, the Ramaytush Ohlone,
in the efforts and deliberate intentions toward decolonization.
We acknowledge the land of the San Francisco Peninsula,
is the unceded ancestral homeland of the Ramaytush Ohlone.
We recognize that most of the land
that was entrusted to the Indigenous peoples, was in some cases shared by choice,
but all too often taken by force.
We recognize the historical colonialism,
and the ongoing colonialism,
that has led to the present-day situation
where land acknowledgements
are offered in place of land.
As people of Afrikan descent,
many of us have come here by choice,
while many are here as a result of historical force.
We acknowledge the complexities
where we were promised land
that was never given,
By those whose it never was to give.
As people of Afrikan descent,
we acknowledge the land that sustains us, express deep gratitude to the Ramaytush Ohlone peoples, and pledge to honour our dignity and divinity that ultimately connects us all.

Adapted from Uplift Black, written by Kaye Johnson

Support us

In The Black is brought to you by San Francisco Housing Development Corporation, the Dream Keeper Initiative, Human Rights Commission, and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development