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Thomas Bradley (1917 - 1998)

Former Mayor of Los Angeles

Thomas Bradley was an American politician who served as mayor of Los Angeles for five terms (1973-93). Born in Calvert, Texas, on December 29, 1917, he attended the University of California at Los Angeles from 1937 to 1940, when he joined the cities police force.

During his 22-year career with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), he earned a law degree from Southwestern University Law School in 1956. In 1963, he became the first black to win a seat on the Los Angeles city council, and ten years later went on to become mayor, one of the first two black mayors of an American city with more than one million residents.

A consensus builder with a cautious style, Bradley served five terms in office, during which Los Angeles was transformed from a collection of suburbs into one of the world's great cities. During his tenure, the city added a downtown skyline and an international airport, developed into a major United States shipping port, and hosted the 1984 Summer Olympic Games.

In 1974 Bradley also served as president of the National League of Cities. In 1982 and 1986 he secured the Democratic nomination for governor, but lost both times. In 1992 he announced he would not seek a sixth term as mayor.