Los Angeles will host a day-long celebration which will culminate with the unveiling of Obama Boulevard in honor of the first black President of the United States, organizers recently announced.
The “Obama Blvd. Naming Ceremony & Street Festival” will take place on Saturday, May 4, where the newly named roadway will intersect with Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard “creating one of the most significant African American points of interest in the country,” according to an online flyer promoting the event.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Obama Blvd. will run through “the predominantly African American Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw neighborhood.”
L.A. City Council President Herb J. Wesson led the effort to rename the 3.5-mile stretch currently known as Rodeo Road (not to be confused with Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills). He has informally dubbed the party “ObamaFest LA.” It will feature food trucks, community vendors, and musical performances from several artists including 1980s hip hop pioneer Doug E. Fresh, Compton native Yo-Yo, and BJ the Chicago Kid, a four-time Grammy nominee.
Attendance is free of charge, but interested parties must register to obtain tickets.
“I’m thrilled that Los Angeles will be home to Obama Boulevard,” said Council President Wesson. “Our history is important and this is one way that we will ensure that America’s 44th President’s legacy is shared for generations to come for Angelenos and visitors alike.”
Wesson introduced the legislation paying tribute to President Barack H. Obama last summer. His idea was unanimously supported by the 14 other council members and Mayor Eric Garcetti.
As CBS2 reported at the time:
His motion mentioned that the area around Rodeo Road is home to “president’s row,” a series of streets named after former presidents which includes Washington Boulevard, Adams Boulevard and Jefferson Boulevard.
As a senator, according to Wesson’s motion, Obama reportedly held his first L.A. presidential campaign rally at Rancho Cienega Park on Rodeo Road.
“People wanted a longer street, but what I have said to the people, it’s not about the length of the street, it’s about the significance of the street, it is about what happened on that street,” Wesson said during a city council meeting.
Saturday’s celebration is organized by the Los Angeles Urban League in partnership with the City of L.A., one of the primary funding sources. Festivities begin at noon, followed by the unveiling ceremony at 5:00 pm which will include Wesson, Mayor Garcetti, U.S. Congresswoman Karen Bass and other elected officials and community leaders.
A spokesperson for the event told The Daily Wire that an invitation has been extended to Mr. Obama but would not confirm whether he is expected to attend.
In 2017, California state lawmakers voted to rename a portion of the L.A.-area 134 Freeway after Obama. The president attended Occidental College from 1979 to 1981 and reportedly traveled part of that route while commuting between his apartment in Pasadena and the campus in L.A.
Follow Jeffrey Cawood on Twitter @JeffreyCawood.