Voice of the Central City: The Tenderloin Times, 1977-94

    Exhibition Run: November 2nd, 2017 - April 15, 2018

    Tenderloin Museum is pleased to announce our newest exhibition, Voice of the Central City: The Tenderloin Times, 1977-94, an exploration of the Tenderloin’s past as seen through two decades of reporting by the trailblazing neighborhood newspaper, The Tenderloin Times. Created in collaboration with community historian and former Times Editor Sara Colm, this exhibition will showcase a number of the publication’s rare archival images, articles, and political cartoons documenting our vibrant community during the pivotal years of 1977-1994.

    The Tenderloin Times had its start in August 1977 when three homeless men mimeographed 150 copies of the first edition from the basement of Hospitality House. Over the next 17 years, The Times grew into an award-winning newspaper with a circulation of 15,000 that was published in four languages – English, Vietnamese, Lao, and Cambodian. As the nation’s first four-language newspaper, it was recognized in 1991 by the Smithsonian Institution for its groundbreaking use of desktop publishing technology (thanks to a donation from Apple computers) to produce the polyglot paper.

    The Tenderloin Times provided a crucial voice for the neighborhood and exerted remarkable influence on San Francisco politics during its heyday. This exhibition will explore the paper’s many facets, including archival coverage of:

    • Activism of the 1980s, which included battles against luxury hotels, community advocacy for a Tenderloin park (today’s Boeddeker Park), protests by newly-formed homeless organizations, and Cambodian, Lao, and Vietnamese demonstrations for human rights in their countries of origin.
    • Investigative reporting and its impact, such as Times’ investigations into the number of homeless people who died on the streets each year (the first outlet to do so), which prompted the City to open additional emergency shelters and increase medical outreach services to homeless people.
    • Reportings resulting in significant triumphs for the neighborhood, including the creation of the neighborhood’s first park, legislation protecting residential hotels, and curbs on the reckless – sometimes fatal – speeding of vehicles passing through the neighborhood.
    • The Tenderloin’s connection to Southeast Asia, highlighting overseas reporting in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam by Times writers in the paper’s four languages, and the beautifully calligraphed Cambodian and Lao texts, which were handwritten until computerized fonts became available.
    • Political cartoons, which addressed city politics, homelessness, income inequality, policing, and vice issues with style and a wicked sense of humor.


    The Tenderloin Times Supportive Programming at the Museum:

             November 2nd, Donor Reception at 5:30pm, Opening Reception at 7pm

              December 14th, Doors at 6:30, Two films, Screening begins at 7pm

              February 1st - March 31st, Contemporary art exhibition, Opening Reception February 1st at 7pm