Thirty-five years before the election of President Barack Obama, the question of race and the possibility of bridging racial barriers were put to the test in an overlooked story in American politics: Tom Bradley's 1973 election as Mayor of Los Angeles: the first African American mayor of a major U.S. city with an overwhelmingly white majority. BRIDGING THE DIVIDE tells the story of how Bradley's coalition of African Americans, Jews, white liberals, Latinos and Asian Americans united a divided city, brought inclusion and access, and set the foundation for inter-racial coalitions that encouraged the elections of minority candidates nationwide, including President Barack Obama. At the same time, the film examines the complexities and contradictions of Bradley's career as a bridge builder. BRIDGING THE DIVIDE brings into sharp focus the issues of police abuse and police reform, and shows how Tom Bradley, a former police officer and a black mayor, could not break the cycles of poverty and despair that would ultimately spark the 1992 Los Angeles civil unrest, and mark the end of his era. BRIDGING THE DIVIDE is the story of multi-ethnic Los Angeles finding its voice and identity in the face of discrimination and political disenfranchisement. And it is the story of the politics of race, and complexities of coalitions in a changing America.
Episode Duration: 56 minutes and 46 seconds
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