M. Justin Herman was the executive director of the SF Redevelopment Agency from 1959 until his death in 1971. During that time he was one of the driving forces behind large changes that were led by the Redevelopment Agency including the redevelopment of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, destruction and redevelopment of a large part of the Fillmore (which was predominantly African American at the time), attempts to redevelop Japantown, and more.
"Herman was extremely effective in obtaining federal funding for redevelopment. His twelve-year tenure lasted through the mayoralties of George Christopher, John Shelley, and into the term of Joseph Alioto. His time at the Agency also coincided with the most activist period in the nation's history for federal involvement in urban renewal. This era began with the establishment of HUD as a cabinet-level department and the plentiful flow of federal dollars to cities for urban renewal. The flow would last into the 1970's." [source]
Basically this was the guy who helped displace lots of people in different parts of the city!
Links and more
- "Who was Justin Herman?" on SF Answers
- "Who was Justin Herman?" from bradleymanningplaza.org
- A history of the Fillmore with some info about Justin Herman's involvement in the neighborhood's redevelopment
- 1999-03-01: "50 Years of Redevelopment" SPUR
- Justin Herman Plaza (named after him)