Meals On Wheels of San Francisco

MOWSF Senior Nathan in his living room.

Meet MOWSF Senior Nathan: An educator and activist

Posted May 15, 2015

MOWSF Blog | Senior Stories

2015_NathanHale-150 By Anna Rendall, MOWSF Program Coordinator

In 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, and the Vietnam War was at its peak. The same year, Meals On Wheels of San Francisco (MOWSF) Clients Nathan and Julia Hare, left their teaching posts in Washington, D.C. The couple boarded a plane for San Francisco, where Nathan had been hired to head the newly created Ethnic Studies department at San Francisco State University (SFSU).

It was an exciting time for the Hares, who were originally from Oklahoma. Julia had visited the City by the Bay as a child and remembered it very fondly. “My wife had adored San Francisco when she was growing up,” says Nathan, who earned his PhD at the University of Chicago.

2015_NathanHale-121Nathan’s leadership in student-faculty protests, which disrupted school operations in demand of a Black Studies department, eventually led to his dismissal from SFSU. But this did not dampen his spirits. The man credited with coining the term “Ethnic Studies” then co-founded The Negro Scholar, now called The Black Scholar: A Journal of Black Studies and Research. Throughout the years, the activist couple appeared on numerous radio and television shows, and Nathan’s writings were featured in publications such as Ebony and Newsweek.

Nathan and Julia moved to Pacific Heights in 1971, where they continue to live today. Their sixth-floor apartment displays dozens of awards and a near-panoramic view of the Pacific behind Julia’s baby grand piano.

2015_NathanHale-126Nathan remembers first spotting Julia in high school and Julia was planning the piano in a recital. Later, they met again as students at Langston University, then the only college in Oklahoma that accepted African American students. The two were married when they were 23 years old.

Julia, who holds an advanced music degree, was diagnosed with dementia in 2011. She used to love playing everything from jazz and blues to her favorite song, “Revolutionary Étude” by Frederic Chopin. “I knew something was wrong when, one by one, she began to forget the songs,” says Nathan, who now serves as Julia’s primary caretaker.

2015_NathanHale-156Nathan and Julia began receiving meals this year. “I appreciate Meals On Wheels of San Francisco, and not just the meals,” said Nathan, who says he likes what MOWSF does for the community. “The meals are an exceedingly good, and there’s a lot of variety,” he says. “It helps a lot.”