MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
The Traditional San Francisco Breakfast
By Pat Murphy and Luke
January 17, 2006
The San Francisco Breakfast honoring Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr. began Monday with a man from Mississippi grown tired of so
Pastor Dr. Amos C. Brown, president of the San Francisco NAACP
and member of the national NAACP Board of Directors, could wait
no longer for the Glide Memorial Church Choir to lead the Black
Instead, former San Francisco Supervisor Brown rolled his breakfast
program into a baton and led the crowd as choir followed.
Most present knew the anthem by heart and burst into lyrics on
first broad arch of the Brown baton.
Loud, impassioned, insistent, and imploring.
Life every voice and sing, till earth and Heaven
Ring with the harmonies of liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise, high as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.
Stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet,
Come to place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered;
Out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
Thou Who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou Who has by Thy might, led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee.
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee.
Shadowed beneath Thy hand, may we forever stand,
True to our God, true to our native land.
The entire family had come. Muslim, Christian, Jew, organized
labor and the Republican California governor, too.
And gave standing ovations to San Francisco African American
leaders grown to icons.
LeRoy King, left, drew the longest ovation for his decades of
community mediation, organized labor leadership, and service as
city commissioner. San Francisco Labor Council Executive Director
Tim Paulson is seen presenting King to the crowd.
Mistress of Ceremonies Amelia Ashley-Ward, publisher of the San
Francisco Sun Reporter - the voice of and for Northern California
African Americans for 60 years.
Willie Brown, a former cab driver and shoe salesman, master of
the California Assembly and two-term San Francisco mayor, led
Arnold Schwarzenegger to the podium...and this governor waited
Brown, who now heads the Willie Brown Institute for Public Policy,
explained tradition of the annual breakfast.
"I had the great pleasure of being extended the microphone
for every King Day Breakfast we ever had in San Francisco,"
"I am just so delighted that we continued the tradition
of honoring what obviously is now by everyone's account been one
of the most extraordinary persons to have ever existed in these
United States if not in this world."
"It was almost exactly two years ago to the day that a new
governor showed up in San Francisco, an old friend of mine for
some 25 or more years...
"In October preceding his appearance here a simple telephoned
invitation caused his immediate response of the adjustment of
his calendar to come appear here at the Holiday Inn on Van Ness
Avenue to help us celebrate the King Day.
"Not too many places in America where the governor of a
particular state chose the Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday -
not too many places but California is indeed blessed with having
a governor who feels comfortable and committed to come share his
words and his views about the King Dream.
Rumors spread before Schwarzenegger's arrival that, if the governor
indeed came, organized labor members would walk out.
Just as quickly, word spread that the family would consider
such a walk-out disrespectful to King's memory and doors would
be locked to prevent a walk-out.
Instead, Schwarzenegger was greeted with faint and scattered
boos drowned out by polite applause.
Schwarzenegger said he was wrong when he spoke of the American
dream being available to all.
"...I learned how wrong I was when I said that everyone
has an equal opportunity in America," recalled the governor.
"As a matter of fact I would drive around and give speeches
and say, 'If an Austrian like me, a farm boy who came over here
and didn't even speak English, if I could make my dreams become
a reality...if that can happen to someone like me it can happen
to anyone. All you have to do is work hard.'
"But how wrong I was. How wrong I was.
"When I started promoting the inner city games and the after-school
programs in the inner city schools I saw that they did not have
the equal opportunity.
"They were not given the equal chance. They did not have
the equal teachers. They did not have the textbooks. They did
not have the homework material.
"I realized how wrong that I was, that I had all of those
things when I grew up in Austria. I had great teachers. I had
all of the books that we needed.
"That's what gave me the foundation to believe in myself,
to come to America.
"We're not there yet but we will be there...when a baby
is born that is when equality has to start, not when you are 20
or 30...you must fight for equality for every child when they
are five, and six, and seven-years-old.
"This is what we have to fight for."
As Schwarzenegger exited, organized labor took to the podium
with their reminder to the crowd.
"I want to remind everybody Arnold Schwarzenegger for the
last year and a half has been attacking all of us in our communities,"
stated Tim Paulson, executive director of the San Francisco Labor
"Last November we sent a clear message to Arnold. We said
no to Proposition 73, 74, 79, 76, 77 - we sat down and we told
him the answer is no.
"The governor came after our pension plans. He attacked
teachers. He came after firefighters and homeless workers.
"Martin Luther King. Rosa Parks. Those are names that should
not be mentioned in the name of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"All the tens of millions of dollars that were wasted (in
the November special election called by Schwarzenegger) could
have been used in our neighborhoods, could have been used to build
our schools, could have been used to build our highways..."
The Paulson reminder brought audience and elected officials to
their feet applauding.
Mayor Gavin Newsom
Minister Christopher Muhammad
And enjoying the event...
Reverend Cecil Williams, pastor of Glide Memorial Church, with
Joyce Ruffin, president of the San Francisco Martin Luther King
Civic and Labor Committee.
San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris at left.
State Senator Carole Migden and Mayor Gavin Newsom
State Judge Gail Dekreon, left, with San Francisco Supervisor
Reverend Ted Frazier, associate pastor
for the Voice of Pentecost Church in San Francisco.
Reverend Amos Brown, left, pastor of Third Baptist Church.
San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.
Mike DeNunzio at left, chair of the San Francisco Republican Party,
with Pastor Cecil Williams.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Brothers, Gamma Chi Lambda Chapter
of San Francisco.
San Francisco Hotel Multi-Employer Group spokesman Cornell Fowler,
left, with Teamsters Local 350 Secretary-General Bob Morales and
San Francisco Supervisor Fiona Ma.
California Assemblyman Mark Leno.