“I Heard That” — Happy Birthday, Carlton B. Goodlett!

by Rochelle Metcalfe on July 23, 2008

IN REMEMBRANCE: Today would have been Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett’s 94th birthday. Cofounder and publisher of the Sun Reporter Newspaper, born on July 23, 1914 in Chipley, Florida. Doc, as he was often addressed, passed on January 25, 1997. A member of Third Baptist Church, Rev. Amos Brown delivered the Eulogy.

Dr. Goodlett was the FIRST African American awarded a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley; educated at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, the distinguished physician/publisher operated his medical practice in the Western Addition (last site on Turk Street) for 50 years and made HOUSE calls!

Goodlett made his mark in this City, and his leadership truly missed! Civic leader, publisher, world traveler, humanitarian, a fearless advocate for peace, social justice, civil rights and civil liberties. There was always activities at the Sun Reporter office visited by city officials, dignitaries, politicians seeking a meeting with the powerful publisher.

Upon Goodlett’s passing discussions rallied around naming a street in his honor; Fillmore St., Turk Street also on the table where the Sun Reporter and his medical office housed in the 2-story building (early in this decade torn down to make room for an apartment building); sad the site could not have been saved, turned into a museum to highlight the life and legacy of Goodlett. There was a lot of history there! The building stood vacant for some time; squatters moved in; thus a lot of historic pictures were lost!

Ownership of a newspaper is power if one knows how to use it – Doc wrote strong editorials; spoke loudly, unafraid to attack City Hall when he deemed necessary. He was an INDEPENDENT THINKER – a fighter, not swayed by politics, but politically involved; ran unsuccessfully as a California Democratic candidate for Governor in 1966.

You ask why should a street be named for this Black man? He DESERVED a prominent place! Finally settled while Former Mayor Willie Brown was in office, San Francisco City Hall address of Polk Street changed to 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place!

I admired Dr. Goodlett, found my niche when hired in 1976 to write a society column but allowed to take it further writing about the every day working men and women – a different perspective to the paper that enhanced its readership at a time one could find the paper in many Western Addition venues and beyond. I will always remember him for the opportunity, and a man I greatly admired and respected!

CONGRATULATIONS to former Mayor Willie Brown, NOW columnist with the S.F. Chronicle penning “Willie’s World” debuted this past Sunday! Should be an interesting weekly Sunday read. BUT this writer take issue with his comments in praise of 1300 on Fillmore Restaurant in closing remarks that the Restaurant will make it BECAUSE “The clientele is 70 percent White so its going to make it. No gang activity. None. I don’t know who arranged that, but it is clear that the 1300 block of Fillmore is getting a pass”. My BROTHER, YOU WENT TOO FAR!!!

GOT JUICE??? SATURDAY spent a stimulating afternoon at Rasselas on Fillmore in response to an E-mail sent out by publicist Ave Montague to attend a Special meeting with Actor/activist home boy DANNY GLOVER, along with other invited guests to hear about a new business opportunity he has embarked upon, and wanted to give his friends the possibilities of “Health and Wealth”!

Glover is one busy man, travels the world over working on a film or humanitarian causes close to his heart, but he has taken on another project. During his tireless journey around the world, Danny began drinking Tahitian NONI Juice to help boost his stamina. After drinking the juice for over a year, he realized that he was healthier and more energized with less pain in his joints. He shared his family and friends are using the product, thus the opportunity of “Health and Wealth”.

Danny is about to launch a multimillion dollar network advertising and marketing campaign and a 100-city U.S. tour to promote the product!
Those interested in more information about the product and how to join Danny’s team, call Montague at (415) 346-0199.

MAKING THE ROUNDS – Last Sunday afternoon an enjoyable time spent at Stern Grove where San Francisco’s popular summer afternoon concerts are held. Headliner Alonzo King LINES Ballet featured renowned Jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders who played with John Coltrane’s jazz ensemble in the 1960s, and Musicians of Hamideen, in what was a peaceful groove! Choreographer King’s philosophy “Dancers are musicians, and musicians are dancers – they’re making music with their bodies” was expressed on stage, mesmerizing; enhanced the beauty of the Grove.

Invited to join The Hat Lady – Mrs. Ruth Dewson and Marion Mutry as a guest at their individual reserved tables that included Donna Smith-Stewart (day good therapy for her); Gwendolyn Markham, former San Francisco Supervisor BILL MAHER ( looks well, shared he’s happy to be out of politics, and enjoying his family); Alice Keaton and fiancé Wayne Oliver…Alice daughter Andrea Hayes, Jesse Housley, Marie Clark, Lois Thompson, Linda Stewart, Albert Sanders, to name a few.

Commissioner Larry Martin, President San Francisco Park and Recreation Board Commission, in the gathering, assisted Mrs. Dewson in reserving a table (SADLY, it was Martin who told me well-known Bay Area Businessman Will Bass had passed that weekend ); S.F. Supervisor Sean Eisbernd and party nearby…Stern Grove part of his district; my pleasure to meet Bonnie Barron, her sister Kelly and cute kids;…

FRIDAY night over at Velma’s Lounge for the Happy Hour Blues/Old School Jam with vocalist Barbara Gainer and stellar Passion Band…..Back Sunday evening to hear vocalist/keyboardist Lady Bianca – a BAAAD MAMA JAMA , and her band;THURSDAY night in the Bayview District at the Monte Carlo Restaurant and Bar for Laura Mason’s swingin’ Birthday Party and what was a reunion of folks, like Laura, who frequented the Black clubs on Divisadero during its heydays (Play Pen, Sportsman, Halfnote, Pal’s Rendezvous, Both An, to name a few) where the IN crowd of young adults hung out during the 60s…the likes of brash Attorney Willie Brown, Jr.; Warrior basketball star Wilt Chamberlain.

Partying with Ms. Laura were: Legendary Diviz bartender Lionel Hornsby, Miss Belo, Jazzy Miss Charlotte Saffold; Brenda Chapel ( S. F. Tourist office); The Dawkins – Bobbie and Janette Dawkins; two of my FAVS – David Larkin and Tony McClain; Robert Dukes (showing off a new attitude since he’s retired – shared no more stress).

GOTTA’ mention The 8th Annual Hayward/Russell City Blues Festival held the weekend of July 12-13 in Tribute to the history of Russell City Blues and “B” Street celebrated on the grounds of Hayward City Hall Plaza conveniently located across the street from Hayward BART Station (my usual travel mode to the Festival).

Sunday on the scene as were: KPOO Radio station Bluesman NOEL with his attractive lady (teased he needed to carry a shotgun to keep the two-legged wolves away) joined by his friend recording artist Frank Bey who performed the night before at Biscuit and Blues (B&B) here in the City, and this past Saturday at the Redwood City Blues Festival; B&B owner Steven Suen; Lucretia Bjorkland (could related to column “Greetings from Lubbock” as she went to school there BUT shared she was glad to leave!);…

DA JUDGE – Honorable Horace Wheatley, Retired Oakland Superior Court Judge; Mr. Lindsey decked out in full fashion wardrobe and hat; Dorlene Eastman and hubby photographer Martin Ribitch; Retired San Francisco Fire Captain Willie Smith and lovely wife Annetta Smith; Oakland’s finest – Mr. Entertainer – Legendary Jay Payton.

KPOO’S AVOTCHA emceed the two day concert. Briefly Bay Area Musician Ronnie Stewart and The Bay Area Blues Society helped the City of Hayward hone in on the History of Russell City, specifically “B” Street known for music at Miss Al’s Place and the Russell City Country Club that featured artists such as Jimmie Witherspoon, Big Joe Turner, Big Mama Thornton, Lowell Fulsom and a host of big named stars.

Each year a theme embrace Blues artist from various regions of the country; this year featured Mississippi Blues wailers – Sunday impressed with Vasti Jackson, soulful guitar player and vocalist from McComb, Mississippi – SOME BAAAD!; Johnny Rawls born in rural Mississippi town of Purvis, grooved us with a bluesy, ‘I’ll Take You There” ; Fillmore Slim performed with The Russell City Memorial Blues Band that included keyboardist Billy Dunn ( who as a young man performed with Big Mama Thornton on “B”) and Big Cat Tolefree, born in Russell City. THANKS TO Ronnie Stewart and The Bay Area Blues Society for KEEPIN’ THE BLUES ALIVE AND THRIVING!

E-mail Rochelle at iheard@earthlink.net

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