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Preview: 'Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race' (Receives $500,000 NEH Grant)

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 6, 2013 at 7:29PM

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded a $500,000 production grant to the filmmakers of the documentary, Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race.
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Tom Bradley

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded a $500,000 production grant to the filmmakers of the documentary, Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race

Bridging the Divide tells the little known story of how Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, the first African American mayor elected in a major U.S. city with an overwhelmingly white population, rose to power, changed Los Angeles through an extraordinary multi-racial coalition, and in the process, transformed American politics. 

That this grant is being awarded in 2013, is timely because this year also marks the 40th anniversary of Tom Bradley’s election as mayor.

5-years in the making, Bridging the Divide is being written, produced and directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Lyn Goldfarb and Emmy Award winner Alison Sotomayor.

Why are we producing a documentary on Mayor Tom Bradley? We believe in the power of storytelling and the value of our shared history. Tom Bradley’s story is part of a new narrative for the City of Los Angeles. He transformed Los Angeles by bridging racial and ethnic divides, and his incredible achievements and legacy should be not forgotten,” says Lyn Goldfarb.

Remarkably, Tom Bradley’s story has never been told and our history books often exclude his significance in the national political landscape. We believe this film will promote dialogue about racial and ethnic tolerance, long-term relationship and community building, diversity and leadership. Our hope is that this film will inspire and build leadership skills among our young people, and illuminate our understanding of race,” added Alison Sotomayor.

The filmmakers say that they're still looking for any old footage or pictures of Tom Bradley or of Martin Luther King Jr. during his visits to Los Angeles from 1956 to 1968, either in the community, with Tom Bradley, or at a local church or event. If you have anything they can use, email the director at lyn@mayortombradley.com or alison@mayortombradley.com.

Bridging the Divide has also received major funding from Cal Humanities, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, the California Community Foundation, Los Angeles City Council Heritage Fund, LADWP, and generous donations from individual supporters. 

The documentary and a companion educational video with curriculum materials are being produced by the non-profit OUR L.A.

To learn more about Bridging the Divide visit www.mayortombradley.com.

Watch a work-in-progress preview of the upcoming doc below:

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