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.