Forum from the Archives: Novel 'On the Rooftop' Recalls San Francisco's Fillmore District, Once Known as 'Harlem of the West'

at 10:00 AM
Save ArticleSave Article

Failed to save article

Please try again

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton poses for a portrait. (Photo by Smeeta Mahanti)

In the 1950s, San Francisco’s Fillmore district was known as the Harlem of the West. It was famous for its jazz music, its artists and its writers and it served as a cultural hot spot for San Francisco. Writer Margaret Wilkerson Sexton captures the neighborhood’s zeitgeist in her new novel “On the Rooftop,” which tells the story of a single mother and her three daughters trying to make it in music. The Fillmore that Sexton’s characters occupy is a vibrant Black community in danger of being erased by an encroaching displacement campaign. We’ll talk to Sexton about her book and what made the Fillmore “Bop City.”

This segment originally aired Sept. 16.


Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, author, "On the Rooftop," "A Kind of Freedom" and "The Revisioners"