(Courtesy of Gary Alpert)
The Great Cockroach Caper: Attn: Health Department! (1965)
For years, Mission District renters had made multiple complaints about substandard living conditions, but still had a hard time getting the attention of City Hall, whose protection they sought against slumlords. The Health Department simply refused to send inspectors into Mission apartments. Enter activist Norma Melbourne, who paid neighborhood children a penny for every cockroach they could gather and then marched down to the office of Health Department Director Dr. Ellis Sox with a half-dozen milk jugs stuffed with the bugs. "Get the Black Flag!" Sox reportedly yelled when Melbourne liberated the critters in his office. As Wild Wes relates on his Castro/Mission Walking Tour: "Channel 7 got it on film, and Mission renters got their inspections."
Read more about Mission activists and their other antics at foundsf.org.