How San Francisco erased a neighborhood


A hotel at the heart of San Francisco’s housing wars

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With an explosion of tech companies and startups in recent decades, San Francisco has struggled with a massive affordable housing crisis. But the beginnings of that crisis go back much further than Silicon Valley.

In 1968, a group of predominantly Filipino elders in San Francisco launched a battle to protect their home from eviction. Called the International Hotel, their home ended up in the crossroads of a city prioritizing the “Manhattanization” of its downtown area. Their fight for their neighborhood would evolve into a nearly decade-long protest with thousands of supporters and become a symbol of the campaign for affordable housing for decades to come.

In the Vox series Missing Chapter, Vox Senior Producer Ranjani Chakraborty revisits underreported and often overlooked moments from the past to give context to the present. Join her as she covers the histories that are often left out of our textbooks.

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One of our biggest archival footage sources for this story was Curtis Choy’s documentary, “The Fall of the I-Hotel.” To watch his full documentary, check out:

For more on this history, read Estella Habal’s book, “San Francisco’s International Hotel”:

Find out more about Manilatown at the Manilatown Heritage Foundation:

Read past coverage of the history of the International Hotel at the San Francisco Chronicle:

Note: The headline on this piece has been updated.
Previous headline: The violent eviction that transformed San Francisco

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