Community

Berkeley’s People’s Park marks its 45th anniversary

A few days before the anniversary, Ed Monroe, a Telegraph street artist, put the finishing touches on a People's Park sign in the vacant lot at Telegraph and Haste. Photo: Ted Friedman
A few days before the anniversary, Ed Monroe, a Telegraph street artist, put the finishing touches on a People’s Park sign in the vacant lot at Telegraph and Haste. Photo: Ted Friedman

On Sunday April 27, People’s Park celebrated its 45th anniversary with live music, food and reminiscing.

People’s Park is deeply rooted in Berkeley’s history, having been created by community members in the 1960s. It was the scene of a major confrontation between student protesters and police in May 1969. A mural near the park, painted by Berkeley artist O’Brien Thiele and lawyer/artist Osha Neumann, depicts the shooting of James Rector, a student who died from shotgun wounds inflicted by the police on May 15, 1969.

Former Berkeley Barb photographer Harold Adler, who shot the People's Park riots, brought prints of his photographs to the anniversary event  Photo: Ted Friedman
Former Berkeley Barb photographer Harold Adler, who shot the People’s Park riots, brought prints of his photographs to the anniversary event Photo: Ted Friedman

Today, the park is a daytime sanctuary for Berkeley’s homeless population. Confrontations and crimes are a regular occurrence and there is a constituency, including many local merchants on Telegraph Avenue, that would like to see the area change. The park is owned, managed, and maintained by UC Berkeley.

Shortly after his recent appointment, Robert J. Lalanne, the university’s vice chancellor for real estate said tackling the issues at People’s Park might be a “fun challenge” and that he looked forward to “getting some things done” to help revitalize Telegraph Avenue.


People’s Park includes a large lawn, community gardens, a basketball court, and performance stage.

Contributing photographer Ted Friedman captured the 45th anniversary event.

 A food vendor, one of many, at the celebratory event. Photo: Ted Friedman
A food vendor, one of many, at the celebratory event. Photo: Ted Friedman
Carol Denney, a park activist who campaigned to get a smoking ban in People's Park, returns to the park for first time in four years. Photo: Ted Friedman
Carol Denney, a park activist who campaigned to get a smoking ban there, returns to the park for first time in 4 years. Photo: Ted Friedman
Photos of the 1969 events at People's Park on display at the anniversary celebration. Photo: Ted Friedman
Photos of the 1969 events at People’s Park on display at the anniversary celebration. Photo: Ted Friedman
Soul, right, performed "I Live in the Battle Fields of America," dedicated to her sister, who was recently "found dead in a garbage shed." she said. Soul is a founder of Radio Free Berkeley. Photo: Ted Friedman
Soul, right, performed “I Live in the Battle Fields of America,” dedicated to her sister, who was recently “found dead in a garbage shed,” she said. Soul is a founder of Radio Free Berkeley. Photo: Ted Friedman
The anniversary event, which took place on the afternoon of Sunday April 27, winds down. Photo: Ted Friedman
The anniversary event, which took place on the afternoon of Sunday April 27, winds down. Photo: Ted Friedman

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