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Tom Bradley - Research Paper Example

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Tom Bradley was the first African American mayor of the city with overwhelming majority of white population. What more, he became five-term Mayor of Los Angeles, major and fast growing city in California. For ten years he was a City Councilmen and served in police for over twenty years…
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Download file to see previous pages At some point the family went on public assistance. His parents divorced and Tom’s mother was working hard to raise five children by herself. Bradley entered Polytechnic High School, because he was a very good athlete. This school was mostly white. However, he became the first black president of the Poly Boy’s League. He also became a record-breaking track team captain and a star in the quarter-mile and long jump. Winning the athletic championship gave Tom admission to UCLA. While there, he had many jobs, one of which was as a photographer for comedian Jimmy Durante. During his junior year in college, Bradley took an exam to join the Los Angeles Police Department. His grade was excellent and entered the department academy in 1940. He served as Police Officer in Los Angeles for 21 years. When he first started working in the police department, there were only 100 black people among 4,000 officers. Blacks could never work with a white officer. They could only serve a black community or work traffic downtown. By the time Bradley retired in 1961, he reached the rank of Lieutenant. That was the highest position black officer could achieve at that time. Because of the racism, Bradley could not advance in this carrier any more. So instead, he attended Southwestern Law School and became an attorney. He took interest in politics when he still was a police officer. In 1963, he got elected to the Los Angeles City Council. He became one of three African American men elected that year. That was the first time black people were in the City Council. On the council, he was closely overseeing the Police Department and working to overcome racial strives. In the mid 1950s - 1960s, there was a strong race discrimination. There were restaurants and shops that would not serve black people; they would be refused to enter hotels etc. In 1961, this conservatism led to the election of Sam Yorty as Mayor of Los Angeles. Then the society climate started to change. There was a wave of riots and large-scale unrests throughout the country. The nation needed a change. To mention some events of 1968: a number of anti-Vietnam war demonstrations increased; within months of each other Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the candidate for President Robert Kennedy were assassinated; over 20,000 students in five East LA schools walked out as a sign of protest against racial inequality. At this time Tom Bradley decided to run for mayoral elections. African Americans were a minority of the population, so for Bradley to win he would have to create a multi-racial coalition. There were many candidates for mayor position to start with; however, the final race entered only Bradley and Yorty. After long and less then honorable electoral campaign the voters elected Yorty for his next term. Bradley took his time to prepare for the next elections, four years later, which he won and became first African American mayor of Los Angeles. He made a history by that. It attracted national and international attention. His success came as a result of continuous building of his extraordinary trans-racial coalition, and proved that it is possible for black voters and white voters to unite. His election also set a stage to other similar campaigns nationwide. There are many changes Mayor Tom Bradley brought to the city. His first term started during an energy crisis. To help his city he came up with curtailment program, and it was so successful that it was implemented in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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