Fruitvale (formerly, 'Brays' and 'Fruit Vale') is a neighborhood in east Oakland, California, in the United States. It is located about two miles southeast of Lake Merritt and is home to Oakland's largest Latino and Indigenous population, with Latinos and Indigenous comprising 49.5% of Fruitvale's population [http://www.neighborhoodlink.com/zip/94601]. Fruitvale's ZIP code is 94601. It lies at an elevation of 49 feet (15 m).
The Fruitvale shopping district is located along International Boulevard (formerly East 14th Street), from Fruitvale Avenue to 38th Avenue and is one of the major commercial areas of Oakland. The area is home to many Latino and Indigenous businesses and hosts several annual cultural events, including a Cinco de Mayo parade and a Dia De Los Muertos festival. On the San Leandro side, to the south, was the Fruitvale Theater. In between, around 35th Avenue and E 14th St., were the Foodvale Market, a two story department store, the post office, and a number of other businesses. St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church and High School were (and are) a block or two east of E 14th St. north of 35th Avenue.
The name (originally '''Fruit Vale''') comes from the many fruit orchards (largely apricot and cherry) which dominated the area in the late 19th century. After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the onslaught of refugees from San Francisco caused a population boom, and the unincorporated neighborhood was incorporated into the City of Oakland December 8, 1909.
Before the 1970s the area had the Montgomery Wards West Coast distribution center and retail store located on the downtown Oakland side, roughly opposite East Oakland Hospital, both on E 14th St.
During and following WW II significant numbers of African-Americans and Latinos immigrated to Oakland and located in the old part of town, West Oakland. This was followed by the "urban renewal" and the construction of the Nimitz freeway, bulldozing much of West Oakland. There was then a movement of the dispossessed residents to East Oakland . Fruitvale was in the middle extent of East Oakland, and due to its location was heavily settled by African-Americans, and by Latinos who by 1990 formed a majority of the district's residents. It wasn't until the late 1980s when the larger Fruitvale District began to attract more Latino residents. African-Americans had either relocated to the outer East Oakland area south of Fruitvale or moved out of the city altogether to outer Bay Area suburbs. Presently, Fruitvale is predominantly Latino, and is the cultural landmark for the city's Latino population.
In the late 1960s and early 70s the lower part of the Fruitvale District was heavily settled by Chicanos Mexican Immigrants and Latinos. The Chicano Movement that was going on at the time through out the Southwest also spread to the Fruitvale district. After the 1968 killing of Charles Pinky De Baca by the Oakland Police Department, the community began to organize against police brutality. One of the first organizations was Latinos United for Justice. Many other Militant and non Militant Chicano groups formed. The Brown Berets had a Chapter in Oakland and the Chicano Revolutionary Party was another Chicano Militant Organization. The Chicano Revolutionary party had a Free Breakfast Program that the Black Panthers had helped them create in Jingletown also they patrolled the streets of Fruitvale against police brutality. Also La Raza Unida Party had a Chapter in Oakland. Teatro Triste, Centro Legal de la Raza, Spanish Speaking Unity council were also very active in the community.
La Clinica de la Raza was created due to the actions of the Chicano Movement as a need for a free Clinic for the Chicano Latino Community of East Oakland. There were also several actions by Chicanos against the Vietnam war in the Fruitvale district. On July 26, 1970 the Oakland Chicano Moratorium protest against the Vietnam war was held at San Antonio Park. One of the Speakers was Chicano Radical Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzáles . There were also several Chicano school walk outs against the Vietnam war mostly at Local schools like Fremont High School and Oakland High School. The Chicano Movement was very much part of Oakland's history as well, especially the Fruitvale District. Its contributions are still seen throughout the Fruitvale District.
The progressive and radical politics of the Chicano Movement in Fruitvale definitely changed the political structure of the district.
In 1972 a coalition of Chicanos, Latinos, blacks and progressive whites elected Joe Coto to the city council to represent the Fruitvale district and San Antonio district (at that time part of the same district). Coto was Oakland's first Latino to serve on city council. In 1979 progressive African American candidate Wilson Riles Jr won the seat to represent the Fruitvale district. Mr Riles was popular with progressives and activists because of his support for immigration rights, ,nuclear free zones in Oakland and ending apartheid in South Africa. Mr Riles served on the Fruitvale council seat until 1992.
In 1992 Ignacio de la Fuente was elected to represent District 5 (the Fruitvale City Council district which was later rezoned to add Glenview). Mr de la Funte was a Mexican Immigrant that moved to Oakland and became a very popular labor leader. His pro-development and gentrification stances along with being pro- gang-injunction made him very few friends in the progressive and activist community. In 2012 de la Fuente ran for City Council at large seat and lost, ending his 20 year tenure on City Council.
Restaurants & Food
- San Jose Taqueria
- Los Cocos Salvadoran Restaurant
- El Huarache Azteca
- La Mexicana Restaurant
- Otaez Restaurant
- El Taco Zamorano
- Mariscos La Costa
- Lupitas Pupuseria
- Mi Grullense Restaurant & Tequila bar
- Kelly's Kaffe
There are many great tasting taco trucks in the area.
The area is a hot spot for sex workers, especially on International Boulevard near Miller Avenue.
Early to mid-mornings on East 12th Street near the Fruitvale BART Station, there are dozens of Latin American workers waiting curbside to be picked up for work. The workers are primarily males in their 20's to 40's.