More Than a Month

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More Than a Month, SFPL’s celebration of Black history and futures, is focused on the theme of "African Americans and the Arts". Beginning on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday weekend, during Black History Month and throughout the year, the Library champions Black leaders and change makers in San Francisco and beyond.

About the art

The artwork for this year’s More than a Month celebration is a photograph by local artist Kenneth P. Green, Sr., the first Black photographer for Oakland Tribune (1968–1982). Green's work is featured in the exhibition Toward a Black Aesthetic: Kenneth P. Green Sr.’s Photographs of the 1960s and 70s, which is on view at the Main Library from January 25 – April 21, 2024. The exhibition focuses on Green’s images of Black women, whose strength, intellect and beauty he recognized and paid homage to through his photographs, which also highlight the fashion and politics of the 1960s and 70s. Visitors will also recognize in Green’s photographs the artistry in which he captured the multifaceted and organic expression of the Black community in the Bay Area. Visit the African American Center, located on the 3rd floor of the Main Library, to see Green's photographs of the 1972 African Liberation Day demonstration. Opening Reception, Thursday, Jan. 25, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Main Library, Jewett Gallery


Born in Lake Charles, Louisiana in 1942, Green moved to San Francisco with his family in 1947. After graduating from Balboa High School, Green joined the United States Air Force where he was stationed in France from 1961 to 1965. Green's passion for photography fully blossomed during his time in France, and upon returning to the US after his military duty, he enrolled in Laney Community College in Oakland, where he earned his degree in photography. Never without his camera, and through his devotion to the craft, Green was hired as a photographer at the Oakland Tribune in 1968. His innate gift for timing, composing and capturing authentic and dynamic images for the newspaper was admired by his peers. 

While on assignment on June 25, 1982, he was killed after being struck by a train. During his 14-year tenure at the Tribune, Green was known for his uncanny ability to quickly position himself to take now iconic photographs of important moments in history, or to simply capture a singular fleeting moment.

Beyond his work at the Tribune, Green’s artistic eye allowed him to capture photographs that celebrated and evoked the true essence of Black communities in the Bay Area during the 1960s and 70s.


Toward a Black Aesthetic: Kenneth P. Green, Sr.’s Photography of the 1960s and 70s was lovingly co-curated by the artist’s son, Kenneth Green, Jr., and African American Center Librarian Shawna Sherman and Senior Exhibition Curator Megan Merritt. Sherman sat down with Green to gather more insight about his father’s legacy. 

What inspired you to share your father's photographs in this exhibit? 
The [Oakland] Tribune gifted me all his images back in the late 90s and I put it in a tin shed in my grandmother’s backyard. With the pain of my father passing, I put away his images because of the grief. It was something I had to return to when I was able.  Once I started inquiring—that was probably around 2011—I had a friend, a UC Berkeley alumnus, and asked if he could hook me up with a professor on campus. I understood deep down in my heart that his photographs were something of value, but I needed other people to prove it to me. 

What do you know of your father’s photographic philosophy? 
I thought he embarrassed me all the time. There was never a time he didn’t have his camera. My father’s philosophy: “shoot from the gut and be honest with your intentions.” During a time when Black people were challenging white philosophy, teachings and laws, he was very intentional, capturing Black excellence through women, fashion, entertainment and style in these images.

What can visitors expect to see when they come to the exhibit?
The interesting thing is my dad really wanted to show a different side of what is being portrayed about Black women in the news. The media didn’t do well in how they documented the community. Visitors will see the real essence of community members and leaders, just natural people in their natural state.

SFPL Recommends

Our librarians have curated must-read titles in honor of More Than a Month. A note from a member of our curation team: “While our history may have moments of darkness, Black love, to this Black Librarian, is always the deepest show of our resistance against the world that wants us to hate ourselves, our beauty, and our strength. Black love is power.”