Martin Luther King Jr. Way (formerly known as Grove Street) is a major street in Oakland and Berkeley, California that begins just southwest of the Embarcadero.  When the street crosses Codornices Creek in the Northbrae section of Berkeley, the name changes to The Alameda. The segment in Oakland between 52nd Street and the Berkeley border (between 61st and 62nd Streets) is the widest street in District 1 and is designated as an arterial street. 

The City Council of Berkeley changed the name of Grove Street within the Berkeley city limits to Martin Luther King Jr. Way by resolution on November 8, 1983.  (Resolution 52,001 N.S.).

According to Wikipedia, "Grove Street, which stretched for several miles north from Downtown Oakland into North Berkeley, was renamed Martin Luther King Jr. Way in 1983-4. The street had once represented the dividing line between neighborhoods where minorities could and could not live or buy property." (Needs to be verified)

In a San Francisco Chronicle article by staff writer Vanessa Hua, published in 2003, outlined the following issues with Martin Luther King, Jr. Way:

  • "Berkeley changed Grove Street to King in 1984, and Oakland followed suit months later."
  • "During the 1950s and '60s the street served as a de facto color line, with minorities living on one side and whites on the other."
  • "In some cases, activists do not have the influence to persuade their local government to name a prominent street after King and have to settle for one in an economically depressed area."
  • "In Oakland, MLK cuts through neighborhoods that are 64 percent black, compared with 35.7 percent citywide. Median household income in these neighborhoods is $21,931, in contrast to $40,055 for Oakland as a whole."

  • "In 2000, the city adopted a 30-year redevelopment plan for part of the neighborhood, from MacArthur Boulevard to 40th Street on MLK. No specific projects are under way now." 1

Additional Links

Life, times along Martin Luther King Jr. Way San Francisco Chronicle 1