The UCLA Film &Television Archive has created a digital portal showcasing local news footage of former Los Angeles Mayor and UCLA alumnus, Tom Bradley.
Bradley, who was the first African American to lead the city, was also Los Angeles’ longest-tenured mayor, serving from 1973 to 1993. Bradley died in 1998.
Made up of news footage donated by television station KTLA, the online archive offers the ability to stream nearly 80 segments documenting Bradley’s work. It includes unedited news segments, never-before-seen footage and stories not seen since they were originally broadcasted. The archive was made possible through a grant provided by The John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation.
“The rare newsfilm available via the archive’s new online resource presents viewers with a unique opportunity to step back in time to revisit moments big and small during this iconic leader’s indelible career,” said Mark Quigley, John H. Mitchell Television Archivist.
Bradley, the son of sharecroppers and the grandson of a slave, was an ambitious student who attended UCLA from 1937 to 1940. While at UCLA, he was a star and team captain on the track team, earning an athletic scholarship. During the dedication ceremony for LuValle Commons at UCLA in 1985, Bradley thanked James LuValle, another notable UCLA alumnus, for supporting and encouraging him to pursue a higher education, saying “[He] made it possible for me to come here and that changed my life.” While at UCLA, Bradley also joined the black fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi, which he remained heavily involved with long after his graduation.
Prior to being elected mayor, Bradley served as a Los Angeles City Council member from 1963 to 1973. His political career intersected with major changes in the city, including remarkable growth and social instability, in part because he was the first African American elected to those offices. The KTLA news reports found in the archive allow viewers to gain an understanding of the mechanics of city government during a time in Bradley's career when Los Angeles led the world in numerous urbanization trends.
Visitors to the site will be able to view footage demonstrating Bradley’s leadership in the areas of national and local politics, social issues, crime, energy and transit. The site also includes news coverage of Bradley overseeing and participating in commemorations and public events. To provide additional context to this historic footage, the site features a commissioned essay by media scholar, Mark Shiel.
“The archive’s new digital resource celebrating the legacy of Mayor Tom Bradley represents another key step in our ongoing efforts to make vital collection materials widely available for research and enjoyment via the internet,” said Jan-Christopher Horak, director of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.
The UCLA Film & Television Archive is the world’s largest university-based moving image archive. The Tom Bradley portal joins an assortment of other special resources created by the archive to provide free online access to important collections. These include more than 100 previously uploaded KTLA news segments covering topics such as civil rights and protests; 20 seasons of the landmark LGBTQ news, entertainment and public affairs program, “In the Life”; and a site dedicated to the study of the celebrated “L.A. Rebellion,” a group of African and African American filmmakers who attended the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television in the 1970s and 1980s.