Black Panther Party's 1st headquarters, now a bakery, could be razed

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. in Oakland, named after the civil rights icon, sits a landmark with another connection to that era. People come from all over to sample the fare at It’s All Good Bakery.

But the draw isn’t necessarily what’s baked in the ovens. There’s another reason.

"The closer that I get to a place like Oakland, I gotta come to actually see things for myself. Feel things for myself," said tourist Maquita Irvin.

She took a day trip to the Bay Area Monday, and traveled to Oakland specifically to see the bakery, because it’s home to the birthplace of a movement.

Fifty-five years ago, on this spot, the Black Panther Party moved into its first headquarters.

SEE ALSO: Black Panther co-founder Huey Newton honored with Oakland bust

From the tumult of the 1960s, to the red-hot real estate of the 2020s, this nondescript building signals a rich part of Oakland’s past.

"We owe a lot of things to the black panthers in the community. For example, we have stoplights to keep kids safe," said resident Minx Manuel.

 Today, the struggle includes progress, and housing. The owner has plans to sell, demolishing the old site. In its place, there would be 20 apartments above, two of which would be for low-income residents. The rest would be market-rate housing. The bakery would remain below.

 "If he’s gonna maintain his bakery there and then have some connection to the legends of the party if you will, then that’s a big plus," said Ray Carlisle, founder and president of the NID Housing Counseling Agency.

But some neighbors see tearing down history for housing as a negative.

"The fact that they’re going to tear it down, is tearing down a piece of our history as black folks in this community," said Manuel.

 The Oakland Planning & Building Department sent KTVU a statement in advance of the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board meeting Monday evening, which reads in part, "The City has not made any decisions on the project and no final decisions are being made on Monday."

 But many worry if the proposal is approved, this landmark could look less like the history they remember, and more like gentrification that is affecting communities everywhere.