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Thomas Bradley was born on 29th of December in the year 1917 in Calvert Texas in the United States of America and died on 29th of September in 1998 in Los Angeles California. He was an American politician and he is historically the first African-American to be elected a mayor in the white city. As a politician he served for five terms as the Los Angeles mayor from 1973 to 1993. He was the son of Lee and Crenner Bradley who lived in Calvert in Central Texas at a station called Bryan-College. Due to financial problems that his family was experiencing they relocated to Arizona where the parents worked in the cotton farms picking cotton with the assistance of Bradley.
He grew up in poverty because his parents were sharecroppers while his grandparents were slaves. At an age of seven years Bradley and his parents went to live in Los Angeles. He was good in football and track events and due to this he got an athletic scholarship hence was admitted in the University of California in Los Angeles though he did not get a degree.
The move to Los Angeles was in the year 1924 and lived at Alvarado Streets close to a Temple (Sal 2008, p. 17). During this time Bradley's father was a porter and worked for the Santa Fe railroad while his mother was a maid. Life was not so good since at some point the Bradley's divorced which forced the family to seek assistance from the public.
According to Sal (2008, p. 17) he studied at Rosemont Elementary School and went to a high school called Lafayette Junior and during his studies he was discouraged from going to college. In 1937 during the winter period he graduated and later joined Polytechnic High School. He joined this school because he was good in track events hence he was recruited by Ed Leahy who was a track coach. Bradley was the track team's captain and ensured that the football team of the city was a tackle. This school was based in Los Angeles and was dominated by white students. During the studies in this school he was very successful and this gave a picture of his accomplishments which were on the way coming.
While at school, Bradley excelled in track events and American football and made history for being the first elected Poly Boys' League president of the African-American background. Apart from that by being induced into the Ephebians he was the first non-white person. At this institution he took photographs for Jimmy Durante who was a comedian.
Still in his junior year he quit the institution and joined the Los Angeles Police and this was after he was successful in the recruiting exams that placed him near the top. Being a member of the department of Los Angeles Police in 1940 he was elevated to the rank of Lieutenant which was the highest rank that a police officer of an African-American origin had ever held before in Los Angeles (Wolf 1992, p. 1). While working for the police department and because he did not have time during the day Bradley had to find an alternative time for studying. At night he studied law at the Southwestern University where he attained a degree in law and later on became a lawyer after passing bar exams.
He is the 38th person to become Los Angeles mayor and served in this office for a period of 20 years which is the longest time that any mayor in that city has served. In 1990 the voters in Los Angeles city voted to establish time limits for mayors meaning Bradley's record is not likely to be broken. By being elected as a mayor for this city Bradley was the second African-American to become a mayor in a large city in the United States. In 1993 he retired and this was due to a drop in the way his leadership was being rated which was as a result of riots that occurred in Los Angeles in 1992 (Colman 2011, pp. 153-154).
In 1982 and 1986 he vied for the governor seat in California though he did not succeed since he was defeated by George Deukmejian who was a Republican. His defeat in 1982 was as a result of racial dynamics and this gave birth to the term "Bradley Effect".
Bradley's entry into the field of politics was initiated by his decision of becoming the united club's president. Being a component of California Democratic Council the club was composed of reformists and liberal individuals. Being supported by Adlai E. Stevenson during his campaigns for a presidential seat, the club was initiated by young democrats in 1950. The club members were predominantly white with a high number of Jewish members.
By making a choice of joining the Democratic circle, Bradley was opposed by another community which had been formed by African-American people. This group acted as representatives of those who were poor and areas dominated by the black people who associated with Jesse M. Unruh's political organization. Jesse was seen as a state assemblyman who was up-coming hence Bradley was seen as a barrier to Jesse's initiatives.
Bradley's early stage in the political arena was characterized by clashes with other leaders of the African-American category. For example with Jesse's allay Mervyn Dymally who was at one point a Californian Lieutenant and a former representative in the United States (Katz & Lietz 1990, p. 1).
For nine years in 1963 to 1972 he was serving the city council of Los Angeles. Together with Billy G. Mills they were elected in 1963 to serve in the city council hence were the first African-Americans to be elected in the modern times. Having surpassed Fletcher Bowron record of being the longest-serving mayor Bradley was as well given a position of the cabinet level by Jimmy Carter who was the President of the US but he turned down the offer.
Bradley's 10th District was in Crenshaw area which was a multi-ethnic region with most voters being white. In his tenure he discouraged racial segregation and spoke about the issue with the LAPD and the departments that had a mandate of handling Watts Riots that occurred in 1965.
In his leadership he faced challenges more so due to him being an African-American, for example at one point a student claimed that he lacked personal charisma (Bramson & Farrow 1990, pp. 1). The student also wondered the kind of person that Los Angeles had elected terming Bradley as a black Gerald Ford whom he could not compare to John Kennedy. But Bradley was not pierced off with this as he responded by saying that his Black nature did not matter.
In the year 1969 the sitting mayor Sam Yorty who was a conservative Democrat but later changed to a Republican was challenged by Bradley though it was a non-partisan election. In this election Bradley was highly supported and he was endorsed by the Los Angeles Times hence in the primaries he had a substantial lead. He only required a few points to win the elections but surprisingly due to Sam's strategy of using racial politics Bradley lost the election. In his racial strategy Sam questioned Bradley's ability of fighting criminal activities and he regarded him as Los Angele's threat since by being elected he would allow the Black Nationalists into the city (Colman 2011, pp. 153-154).
Despite his opponents using racial politics as a tool to defeat Bradley in the elections, he being a police officer did not use his record in the elections. The racial factor made most of the white voters even those who were liberal to be hesitant in supporting Bradley for the position.
In his tenure as a mayor Bradley helped Los Angeles to host the Olympic Games held in summer periods in 1984 and made Chicago become the county's second most popular city. He contributed to the city's financial success by assisting in developing the Hubs Satellite Business as well as the Warner Center. Bradley also played a central role in the construction of light rail network in Los Angeles and ensured that the International Airport of Los Angeles was expanded (Katz & Lietz 1990, p. 1). Being the first African-American mayor in one of the largest cities in the United States Bradley surely set history that will never be broken.