The San Francisco-Oakland span of the Bay Bridge was officially named Tuesday after former California and Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.
Hundreds of elected officials, friends’, and family of Brown’s gathered on Treasure Island for the naming ceremony.
Brown told reporters he was excited to have the bridge span named after him and will exercise full bragging rights.
“It’s really an honor for African-Americans and for the African-American community,” he said. “There’s nothing in the nation except the King Holiday that has the universality of this bridge in terms of its carrying the name of an African-American, nothing even close.”
The California state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had been lobbying for the name change for the last few years, which was approved by the California Legislature in September.
“A few years ago we passed a resolution at our convention to name the bridge after Willie,” said Alice Huffman, president of the state NAACP. “We had to get a member of the Legislature to pass the bill, so Isadore (Hall) stepped up to support us.”
Assemblyman Hall authored “Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 65 (ACR-65), the measure to name the Western span of the bridge after Brown.
“Willie Brown is now the only African-American in California whose name is on a state structure. Others have been named on federal buildings, county buildings etc.,” said Hall, 64th District assembly member. “What better way to honor someone who is truly a bridge builder,” he said.
Hall, who represents Compton/Carson in Southern California, said he was criticized for authoring the bill, which impacts the San Francisco Bay Area.
“Yes I am a Bay Area outsider, but I’ve been touched even in Compton by the great work of Willie Brown,” he said.