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Crosscurrents is our award-winning radio news magazine, broadcasting Mondays through Thursdays at 11 a.m. on 91.7 FM. We make joyful, informative stories that engage people across the economic, social, and cultural divides in our community. Listen to full episodes at kalw.org/crosscurrents

Social impact of Willie Mays on San Francisco

Willie Mays statue in San Francisco
Willie Mays statue in San Francisco

This interview aired in the July 8th, 2024 episode of Crosscurrents.

Click the play button above to listen to the interview

A public memorial service is being held today for the late Willie Mays at Oracle Park, it’s expected that thousands of fans will bid the Giants’ great a final farewell.

Much has been written and said about the on-field exploits of Mays, regarded by many as the greatest all-around baseball player ever. Many remember him for his cheerful and gracious demeanor after he retired from the game a half-century ago.But Willie Mays was also an important social figure during an era of tremendous social turbulence in San Francisco after the Giants moved here from New York in 1957.

Dr. Harry Edwards is a professor emeritus at UC-Berkeley, where he taught sociology. But he is perhaps best known for organizing the Olympic Project for Human Rights, which led to the famous Black Power protests by US sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith.

I recently spoke to Edwards about the historical significance of Willie Mays at a pivotal time in San Francisco’s racial and social evolution.

Crosscurrents Crosscurrents
Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked in print, radio, television, and web journalism.