Photography by Jeff Hunt
Born in Phoenix in 1943 and raised in the all-black town of Rentiesville, Oklahoma, Arnold Townsend's family moved to Southern California when he was 6. He lived in Watts in LA on an integrated block. In Part 1, Arnold takes us through the early years of his life, with tales of racism, defiance, and, as he put it, a "Leave It to Beaver" neighborhood.
A girly magazine might've drawn Reverend Arnold to San Francisco, but what has kept him here for more than five decades goes much, much deeper than that.
In Part 2, Reverend Arnold tells the story of moving to the city in the late-'60s. At SF State (then known as "state college"), he quickly got involved with the Black Student Union (BSU), which led him to the work that's come to define his life: housing rights.
We recorded this podcast at Arnold's office in the Fillmore in March 2020.