Celebrating Compton’s 50th: Vanguard Revisited, W/ Rev. Megan Rohrer

by on September 6, 2016

Reverend Megan Rohrer

If you missed the prior events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the August 1966 Compton’s Cafeteria riots in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, don’t despair. On Thursday, September 8, the Tenderloin Museum hosts Reverend Megan Rohrer, who will honor the historic legacy of Vanguard, San Francisco’s first gay liberation group.

In 2011, Rohrer and historian Joey Plaster created a remarkable work of public history: Vanguard Revisited, which introduced the history of the 1960s radical queer-youth organization Vanguard to contemporary queer homeless youth, who created their own art and poetry zine in conversation with essays and themes from the original Vanguard newsletter. The new zine also featured archival materials, a historical narrative and writings from urban ministers and youth organizers.

The storytelling project Temporal Cities will attend the event to share and record LGBTQ stories. Listen to a piece of oral history in their rotary phone, or type your own memories on a real typewriter. Temporal Cities is a public art project that examines the experience of living in the Tenderloin through the stories of its residents. For more information about the project, visit TemporalCities.org.

For the 50th Anniversary Compton’s Commemoration, a second issue of the Vanguard Revisited zine will be released with new materials by the original authors and editors. For the Tenderloin Museum program, Rohrer will describe the initial process leading up to Vanguard Revisited and will discuss its legacy. Rohrer is the pastor of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in San Francisco and is a nationally recognized leader on issues of homelessness, gender, sexuality and faith.

The Compton’s riot is only a part of the Tenderloin’s GLBT legacy. The Tenderloin was the geographic center of the city’s emerging GLBT movement from the 1940’s through the 1960’s, a story on display at the Tenderloin Museum.


Temporal Cities will be stationed inside the Museum during the event, collecting stories related to the LGBTQ experience in the Tenderloin. Temporal Cities is a public art project that examines the experience of living in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, through the stories of its residents. The piece combines analog slide projection and interactive storytelling; a projected image mounted on the street attracts passersby to the installation, where they are encouraged to share a personal story that took place nearby. In collecting and archiving these stories, artists Lizzy Brooks and Radka Pulliam are building a nuanced map that explores the changing nature of the city and our collective ideas of permanence.

Here is the ticket information.

Randy Shaw details the Tenderloin’s GBLT history in The Tenderloin: Sex, Crime and Resistance in the Heart of San Francisco

Randy Shaw

Randy Shaw is the Editor of Beyond Chron and the Director of San Francisco’s Tenderloin Housing Clinic, which publishes Beyond Chron. Shaw's latest book is Generation Priced Out: Who Gets to Live in the New Urban America. He is the author of four prior books on activism, including The Activist's Handbook: Winning Social Change in the 21st Century, and Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Century. He is also the author of The Tenderloin: Sex, Crime and Resistance in the Heart of San Francisco

More Posts

Filed under: Mid-Market / Tenderloin