About Mayor Tom Bradley


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, he made history when he was elected mayor of Los Angeles and became the first African American mayor of a major American city with an overwhelmingly white population.

Mayor Tom Bradley made a difference. He opened City Hall and city commissions to women, minorities and people with disabilities, largely for the first time. He transformed Los Angeles from a conservative, white,urban center into one of the most diversified and important cities in the world with a new skyline, vibrant downtown and revitalized financial and business districts. He positioned the growing metropolis to take its place as an international trade center. He influenced two generations of policy makers and leaders. He brought the city a glowing spot on the world stage with the 1984 Summer Olympics – the first-ever profitable Games.He enacted environmental reforms, powerful anti-apartheid business practices, and ordinances prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians and people with AIDS. He prevailed in his long struggle to reform and bring civilian control to the LAPD.

1. Bradley being sworn in as mayor by Justice Earl Warren - July 2, 1973 - UCLA SPECIAL COLLECTIONS - clusc_8_1_00327988a_j.jpg
2. L.A. City Councilman Tom Bradley at the Hollywood Palladium on the election night for his run for Los Angeles Mayor, 1969 - Photo credit - California African American Museum copy.jpg

Tom Bradley’s story is a classic American success story; the grandson of slaves and son of sharecroppers who fought prejudice and bigotry to transform a major U.S. city, and in the process, transcended the barriers of race to realize the American dream.