Hunters Point, named after a local family during the nineteenth century, is located in the extreme southeastern part of San Francisco, strung along the main artery of Third Street from India Basin to Candlestick Point. Bayview-Hunters Point, known to many San Franciscans as "HP," is a predominantly African-American area. The neighborhood has a population of 20,322 and is roughly 60% African-American.
Hunters Point is home to many family businesses, community organizations, home recording studios, and churches that have thriving congregations. Many of the African-Americans in the area are the children of the massive Southern migration of the 1940s, during which thousands of African-Americans came from Southern states for job opportunities at the burgeoning war industries at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. Between 1940 and 1950, the population leaped from 16,500 to 147,000; the neighborhood's predominance of African-Americans is a legacy of the restrictive housing practices of the past.
Many consider Bayview-Hunters Point a marginalized community because it contains nearly one-third of San Francisco's toxic waste sites. Additionally, the area is plagued with black-on-black crime, prostitution, gang and drug activity, as well as a high murder rate. Until the late 2000s the community did not even have a single supermarket serving fresh and healthy foods, and community gardening is increasingly popular in the area.
The Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood's population is changing — a traditionally Black-community originally established the Hunters Point Shipyard and blue-collar factory jobs. However, there has recently been a decline in housing prices due to gentrification. Many African-Americans from the Bayview-Hunters Point region have moved to other Bay Area cities, notably Antioch, Oakland, Hayward and Richmond while Latinos, Asians, and whites represent a growing part of the neighborhood, drawn by warm weather, lower housing prices, and new construction surrounding the city's current projects, such as the Third Street Light Rail Project. The exodus of African-Americans is well documented in an award winning San Francisco Magazine article by Jaimal Yogis, What Happened to Black San Francisco (2006).
Many community groups, such as the India Basin Neighborhood Association, the Quesada Gardens Initiative and the Bayview Footprints Collaboration of Community-Building Groups work with community members, other organizations and city-wide agencies to strengthen and improve this diverse part of San Francisco. Bayview-Hunters Point is also home to 2 of the most notorious gangs in the San Francisco Bay Area, the West Mob and Big Block gangs.
Much of the shoreline was extended by landfill extensions into the San Francisco Bay during the early-20th century. The Navy recognized the importance of shipbuilding and repair in the San Francisco Bay and began negotiating for use and appropriation of the Hunters Point Dry-docks during World War I. A Congressional hearing on Pacific Coast Naval Bases was held in San Francisco in 1920 at San Francisco City Hall wherein city representatives Mayor Rolph and City Engineer O'Shaughnessy testified on behalf of permanently siting the Navy at Hunters Point.
The land was again appropriated by the United States Navy upon the onset of World War II and became one of the major shipyards of the West Coast. Many workers, including African-Americans, worked at the shipyard and other wartime related industries in the area. After the War, the area remained a naval base and commercial shipyard, as many blue collar industries moved in. However, the Navy closed the shipyard and Naval base in 1974 and returned ownership to the City.
As with many industrial zones of the era, Hunters Point boasted a succession of coal and oil-fired power generation facilities that have left a legacy of pollution, both from smokestack effluvia and leftover byproducts that were dumped in the vicinity. In 2006 Pacific Gas and Electric Company completed rerouting of electrical services in the Bay Area and closed their Hunters Point Power Plant. After WWII and until 1969, the Hunters Point shipyard was the site of the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, the US military's largest facility for applied nuclear research, which left many areas of the shipyard radioactively contaminated.