Local PBS Television Broadcast Premiere

August 18, 2015 at 8:00 p.m.


Before Barack Obama, There was Tom Bradley

Thirty-five years before Barack Obama was elected President, the question of race and the possibility of bridging racial and ethnic barriers was put to a test in an overlooked and untold story in American politics:  The 1973 election of Tom Bradley, the first African American mayor of a major U.S. city with an overwhelmingly white majority.

Tom Bradley’s extraordinary multi-racial coalition redefined Los Angeles, transformed the national dialogue on race, and encouraged elections 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 politics of race and the complexities of coalitions in a changing America.

watch more >>




Academy Award nominated filmmaker Lyn Goldfarb and Emmy Award winner Alison Sotomayor


Major Sponsors

National Endowment for the Humanities

California Council for the HumanititesW. K. Kellogg Foundation

Ralph M. Parsons FoundationCalifornia Community Foundation

City of Los AngelesLos Angeles Department of Water and Power



Photographs in the Gallery and throughout this website are courtesy of the Tom Bradley Legacy Foundation, the California African American Museum, the personal collections of the Tom Bradley family, and Tom Bradley staff members including Phil Depoian, Adrian Dove, Bee Canterbury Lavery, Craig Lawson, Wilfred Marshall, Jeff Matsui, Wanda Moore, and Bill Raphiel.