Photos by David Ng
“BRIDGING THE DIVIDE: TOM BRADLEY AND THE POLITICS OF RACE” had its first public screening on Monday, August 10th at 7:00 p.m the Luckman Theater, located on the Cal State LA campus. Following the movie, a panel discussed Bradley’s career and his impact on today’s politics. Warren Olney, former host of 89.9 FM KCRW’s Which Way, L.A.? moderated the panel, which included Lorraine Bradley, the eldest daughter of Tom Bradley; U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park); Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas; former county supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, and María Elena Durazo Vice President for Immigration, Civil Rights and Diversity at UNITE HERE!.
“BRIDGING THE DIVIDE: TOM BRADLEY AND THE POLITICS OF RACE,” tells the little known story of Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley, the first African American mayor of a major American city without a black majority. His extraordinary multi-racial coalition redefined Los Angeles, transformed the national dialogue on race, and encouraged election of minority candidates nationwide, including our nation’s first black president. The film brings into sharp focus issues of police brutality in minority communities and the challenges of police reform. BRIDGING THE DIVIDE is the story of the pressures which face our cities, the paradox of race, and the complexities of coalitions in a changing America.”
Thomas “Tom” Bradley (December 29, 1917 – September 29, 1998) was the five-term Mayor of Los Angeles, California, serving in office from 1973 to 1993. The son of sharecroppers and grandson of slaves, Bradley was born in rural Texas and moved to Los Angeles with his family at 7 years old. Raised by a single mother, Tom Bradley attended UCLA and became a record-breaking track star and team captain, as part of one of a small group of athletes that broke the color barrier in college sports. He served as a Los Angeles Police officer for 21 years, reaching the rank of Lieutenant – the highest position an African American could achieve at that time. He later attended Southwestern Law School at night, passed the bar the first time, and became an attorney. With his law degree in hand, he resigned from the LAPD. As a police officer, Bradley was active in the Democratic Minority Conference and the California Democratic Council. In 1963, he was elected to the Los Angeles City Council in the biracial 10th District. As a two-term City Councilman Tom Bradley challenged Sam Yorty in 1969 for Mayor of Los Angeles, but was unsuccessful. Four years later, in 1973, Bradley defeated Yorty in the Los Angeles Mayoral election becoming the first African American mayor of a major American city without a black majority.
View the evening’s program for “Bridging the Divide” and panel discussion.
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