Ardist Cooper

Ardist Cooper is a father, war veteran, author, and activist. A longtime resident of the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, Ardist fought alongside other members of his community for civil rights. Here, he shares stories of a young San Francisco, and the people who made it what it is today.


Ardist Cooper

81 years old
Fought in the Korean war
Moved to California in 1958

A San Francisco man battles racism, fights for equal rights

Ardist Cooper’s job prompted his move to California in 1958. He initially lived in Hurlong, before relocating to San Francisco. Having never lived in a big city like San Francisco before, Ardist was excited about the transition and felt the city had much to offer him. Bayview was a community then — and Mr. Cooper knew most of his neighbors by sight.

Mr. Cooper remembers Bayview as a very tolerant place. Different from the rest of the city, there was plenty of fun for people who wanted to let their hair down. The community was made up of people who would help others move forward and make a better lives for their families. No matter what, there was togetherness.

A driver for Yellow Cab, Ardist recalls picketing and protesting to help make things better for his people. He worked to get people of color jobs in the public school system and public office. Although the shipyard employed people of color, they still had to fight to get jobs in other places. Hear more about Ardist’s experiences raising a family in San Francisco, and his efforts to make it a better place.

“We’d protest things we didn’t approve of; that’s what made us so together.”