Politicians Willie Brown, John Burton Met at SF State in 1950s

Friday, August 21, 2020

KQED NEWS -- Brown came to have a huge influence on California and Bay Area politics — some say he still does — as Assembly Speaker and later as mayor. But when he got here in 1951?

“I was not an observer of what was going on politically in San Francisco, although I instantly became a member of the youth group of the NAACP,” Brown said. “They talked about things like Black people becoming police officers, Black people driving busses, Black people becoming deputy sheriffs, Black people overing becoming firemen. I heard all those things in the NAACP.”

Brown enrolled at what is now San Francisco State University. That’s where he met a guy named John Burton. He was Phillip Burton’s brother.

“And I heard things about politics from Burton. As a matter of fact, I joined the Young Democrats because Burton encouraged me and invited me to join,” Brown says.