Sutro Baths is one of San Francisco's historic destinations. Everyday wedding photos are taken and people enjoy the natural beauty and ruins of the world's once largest natatorium, which was created by Adolph Sutro. When I began to look up this site, I found that the history usually started with Adolph Sutro, a white millionaire who once owned a twelfth of San Francisco.
However, we first must acknowledge that the land has been stewarded by the Ramaytush Ohlone people. We also must acknowledge that an historic moment occurred. A black man named John Harris sued Adolph Sutro in 1897 for being denied entry into the baths. John Harris won, with the help of the African American Assembly Council and underneath the Dibble Civil Rights Act, and this set the precedent for the civil rights bill many years later.
I use the alchemy of sound and memory to shift the soundscape of this occupied land, collapsing the barriers between past and present to unveil the untold stories the shores have witnessed. As a Black, queer womxn standing on the symbols of wealth and occupation, I want to honor those who came before, those who have fallen through the cracks of white lens of history, and celebrate the resiliency of my people.
Here we are. Watching time slip and dance before us. Remembering what has been forgotten and tucked …
get to feel the wind on my skin just as much as you do. I get to be here. In 1897 John Harris sued …
I don't need your permission I don't need your validation I don't need your prison I am my own innov…
Can't control me. I'm already free.
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