The Western Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge has now officially taken the name of former California Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.
Hundreds of people gathered on Treasure Island on Tuesday for a dedication ceremony for the new Willie L. Brown, Jr. Bridge.
Brown told reporters that he was honored to have the bridge span named after him. Back in September, Brown said Brown said he hoped that having the bridge named for him will prove “inspirational for kids.”
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Brown told reporters he was honored to have the bridge span named after him.
"It's really an honor for African-Americans and for the African-American community,'' said Brown, who is black. "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 state Legislature approved the name in September. Brown was the Assembly's first black speaker and the longest-serving speaker in state history, presiding over the 80-member house from 1980 to 1995.
He was considered among the most powerful state politicians of his time.
The idea of renaming the bridge was first put forward by politicians from Southern California, but gained momentum after the state NAACP signaled its approval.
The new signs which will identify the bridge as "Willie Brown" would be paid for with private money, and will not cost taxpayers.
The name only applies to the Western Span of the bridge, not the new eastern span.
The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge was opened for traffic in 1936 and its soaring gray towers, now covered in flowing LED lights, have become an iconic symbol of the Bay Area.