A Different Story of Race Relations

Posted by Mary Hendra on August 18, 2015

What and where do you think about when you hear the term "race relations" in the United States?

  • the South?
  • the Civil Rights Movement?
  • the Civil War?
  • Los Angeles?

I once did a survey of American History textbooks being considered for AP US History classes in Los Angeles Unified School District. Los Angeles entered the story one to three times. The 1965 Watts Rebellion was in all of them. Depending on publishing date, some included the violence in Los Angeles in 1992 after the Rodney King trial, and a few talked about the OJ Simpson trial. But, there is another story that is important for students and adults to know about.

BTD Poster merged - FinalMayor Tom Bradley, elected 5 times and serving for 20 years as Los Angeles mayor, presents a story of building alliances across racial groups, expanding access to and voice in city government, and perseverance in challenging the stereotyping and discrimination that was as present in Los Angeles as it was in most major US cities in the 20th century.

Filmmakers Lyn Goldfarb and Alison Sotomayor have brought this story back to light with two films. "Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race," airs for the first time on local public television at 8:00pm on Tuesday, August 18th. It will air nationally in February.

A classroom version, "Tom Bradley's Impossible Dream," shows more about Bradley's decisions from youth through 5 terms as mayor. We are thrilled to bring "Tom Bradley's Impossible Dream," the filmmakers, and Tom's daughter Lorraine Bradley, to our Partnership Schools later this fall. Read more about "Tom Bradley's Impossible Dream" and a Q&A with the filmmakers.

Topics: Los Angeles, Race and Membership in American History: Eugenics, Upstander

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