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Museum of the African Diaspora

Belva Davis, board president for San Francisco's new museum, talks about why the African diaspora needs to be memorialized.

Belva Davis of S.F.'s Museum of the African Diaspora
Photo caption
Belva Davis is the board president of the Museum of African Diaspora in San Francisco.


Journalist Belva Davis made history in 1966 as the first black female TV news reporter on the West Coast.

But more recently she's been playing a new role as board president of San Francisco's Museum of the African Diaspora. The 20,000-square-foot museum, which opened in December, fills the first three floors of the new St. Regis Hotel in the city's growing arts district south of Market. Information: (415) 358-7200,

Q What's a diaspora?
A The scattering of people far from their ancestral home.

Q Why memorialize the African diaspora?
A All humanity originated in Africa. Regardless of race, religion, or other differences, we are connected through our DNA.

Q What will we see first?
A A three-story-high mosaic portrait of a little African girl, composed of some 2,100 photos from around the world. We've also collected the life stories of many of the people pictured.

Q And elsewhere in the museum?
A We have a theater showing videos on heroes in different ethnic groups, a culinary center exploring African cooking traditions as adapted by other cultures, and a gallery with stories of individuals who escaped slavery.

Q Who will these touch?
A I hope all people will receive an affirmation that they fit in with their worldwide family‚ÄĒespecially young African Americans. Here they can feel included.

Photography by Terrence McCarthy


This article was first published in January 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.