Chauncey Bailey Project

In tearful ceremony, Oakland street renamed for slain journalist Chauncey Bailey

Journalist Tom Peele and member of the Chauncey Bailey Project, speaks during the ceremonial unveiling of Chauncey Bailey Way. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

East Bay Times

March 5, 2022

By | smukherjee@bayareanewsgroup.com | edited by Mary Fricker for chaunceybaileyproject.org.

OAKLAND — Friends, family and former colleagues of slain local journalist Chauncey Bailey held back emotions as they unveiled the Oakland street sign that now bears his name and marks the site of his 2007 murder.

The half-mile stretch of 14th Street between Lakeside Drive and Broadway will now be known as Chauncey Bailey Way. As former colleague Paul Cobb recalled at a ceremony Saturday, the path is significant to Bailey’s life for a number of reasons.

Bailey would walk down 14th Street to get to his office at the Oakland Post, where he served as editor-in-chief. Occasionally, he would stop to buy coffee for homeless residents along the way. The street also leads down to Oakland City Hall, where Bailey spent many afternoons as a prolific local journalist with a focus on crime and policing.

More infamously, however, the street is where Bailey was gunned down on Aug. 2, 2007. A jury later convicted Yusuf Bey, the leader of the Your Black Muslim Bakery and a subject of Bailey’s investigative reporting, of ordering the journalist’s assassination.

The street renaming was introduced as a resolution by then-Councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney in 2020 and approved unanimously by the City Council.

Financing and support came from the Holland Partner Group, which made the initial proposal to the City Council to co-name some blocks of 14th Street as Chauncey Bailey Way. The Holland Partner Group built the 7-story Lydian apartment community last year on the block where Bailey was murdered, and they felt it was important that his memory be honored, said Raymond Connell who spoke at the ceremony on behalf of the Holland group.

Thomas Peele, a former colleague who worked with Bailey at the Oakland Tribune, pointed to both Bailey’s life and death as symbols of the free press’ importance. Bailey believed in the importance of informing his community, even handing out newspapers for free on buses while a reporter at the Detroit News, Peele said.

“It was tragic and utterly senseless — Chauncey’s assassination was a direct and brutal attack on our First Amendment rights and freedoms,” said Peele, now a reporter for EdSource who worked prominently on the Chauncey Bailey project, a reporting collaborative that investigated Bailey’s death. “He’s a martyr for all of us, and it makes the honor that was bestowed upon his memory and his family today very clear.”

Bailey’s legacy has lived on in his son, Chauncey Steven Bailey Jr., who spoke about his own education in racial justice and a long history of Black journalism — a journey inspired by his father.

“He wanted us to carry a sense of pride, and valued the idea that every day, if we could just survive, live, grow and preserve our culture, that we are creating Black history,” Bailey Jr. son said.

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 5: Lorelei Waqia, second from left, and Chauncey Bailey Junior, fourth from left, sister and son of former Oakland Tribune and Oakland Post journalist Chauncey Bailey, hold up commemorative plaques during the ceremonial unveiling of Chauncey Bailey Way at the intersection of 14th Street and Alice Street in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, March 5, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Staff writer Annie Sciacca contributed reporting.

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