By Adina J. Pernell
The seemingly innocuous Phelan Avenue, named after former San Francisco Mayor James D. Phelan’s father, holds a shameful history which may result in changing its name to honor world-famous, Mexican artist Frida Kahlo instead.
Phelan was xenophobic and believed Asian Americans posed a threat to the city. During his campaign, he lobbied to “keep America White.”
According to the Examiner, protests at the University of San Francisco (USF) earlier this year resulted in the former Phelan Hall being “renamed Toler Hall in honor of the first Black NFL referee and USF alumnus Burl Toler.”
With the nation debating whether to remove monuments commemorating prominent proponents of racist ideologies, a decision must be made regarding Phelan Avenue’s name.
One suggested replacement is Frida Kahlo Way, after the spouse and peer of Diego Rivera, whose own artwork, the Pan American Unity Mural, is currently housed in the Diego Rivera Theatre.