I first encountered the International Hotel Anti-Eviction Organizing Materials as an intern in 2016 when I conducted a brief inventory of the contents. I was immediately struck by the connections between the history of the I-Hotel and our contemporary struggles with the displacement of people in the Bay Area. Revisiting the collection in 2019 in order to prepare a finding aid, I recognized the significance of having documentation revealing the creation of this resistance movement and the importance of making it available – using this history to illuminate how we might respond to our current conditions.
The International Hotel was a residential hotel in San Francisco’s Manilatown neighborhood housing majority Filipino and Chinese low-income seniors. When the Four Seas Corporation bought the hotel and sought to evict the tenants in order to build a parking lot, a coalition formed to fight to keep the tenants in their homes. From 1968-1977 the residents and their supporters held rallies, wrote letters, met with the mayor, engaged in direct action, and promoted legislation in an organized effort to resist eviction.
The I-Hotel Anti-Eviction Organizing Materials were donated by Paul Cox, who was involved in the organizing efforts. They include newsletters from the International Hotel Tenants Association, flyers calling people to action, and newspaper clippings representing coverage of the events as they unfolded. They also include handwritten notes taken during organizing meetings, drafts of correspondence, and internal memos from sub-committees reflecting on what they are doing well and where they have made mistakes. Together they offer a unique perspective on what it takes to build and sustain a movement. On the collection page, you’ll see the link to a finding aid that will help you explore the materials.
Today the International Hotel, rebuilt after its 1981 demolition, is the site of the Manilatown Heritage Foundation, which promotes the “social and economic justice of Filipinos in the United States”.