PBS SoCal Presents the Story of a Los Angeles Mayor Who Impacted Race and Politics in America




Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race

Premieres August 18, 2015 at 8 p.m. on PBS SoCaL

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (July 8, 2015) PBS SoCaL, PBS for Greater Los Angeles, presents Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race, the story of the first African American to be elected mayor in a major U.S. city with an overwhelmingly white majority. In remembrance of the 50th anniversary of the Watts Riots, this documentary will premiere in the greater Los Angeles area on Tuesday, August 18, 2015 at 8 p.m. on PBS SoCaL.

Thirty-five years before Barack Obama’s election as President, 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. Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race 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 sustainable interracial coalitions. This movement later encouraged the elections of minority candidates nationwide, including President Barack Obama.

Narrated by Emmy® Award-winning actress Alfre Woodard, Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race brings into sharp focus the ways that white and minority communities regard the police, law and order, and police abuse. The documentary 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: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race is the story of multi-ethnic Los Angeles finding its voice and identity in the face of discrimination and political disenfranchisement. The film also examines the complexities and contradictions of Bradley’s career as a bridge builder. It was a remarkable political first in the history of race and politics in America.

“We believe in the power of storytelling and the value of our shared history,” said Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Lyn Goldfarb, the documentary’s Director, Co-Producer and Co-Writer. “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.”

“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,” remarked Emmy® Award-winner Alison Sotomayor, the documentary’s Co-Producer, Co-Writer and Research Director.”

“Tom Bradley led a path for change that influenced the nation,” said PBS SoCaL Executive Producer of Program Development and National Productions, Brenda Brkusic. “We are thrilled for the opportunity to share the remarkable story of a legendary Southern California influencer with viewers across the country.”

Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race will also air on PBS stations nationally during African-American History Month in February 2016 (check local listings).

For more information, please visit https://www.pbssocal.org/tv/nationalproductions/tom-bradley/.

Bridging the Divide has received major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Cal Humanities, California Community Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, and the Los Angeles City Council Heritage Fund.

PBS SoCaL is the national presenting station for Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race. As the flagship PBS station in Southern California, PBS SoCaL works with filmmakers to develop and broadcast high-quality programs and series that educate, entertain and enlighten Southern California viewers. PBS SoCaL National Productions is proud to distribute a number of these completed programs and series to PBS stations nationally each year.

About PBS SoCaL

PBS SoCaL is the only station in the Greater Los Angeles area providing the full PBS schedule to Southern California and is home to all PBS program premieres as they are released nationally. As Southern California’s flagship PBS station, PBS SoCaL provides early education, access to a broad array of arts and culture, and programs for, about and by the people of Southern California.

PBS SoCaL is the parent to three unique broadcast channels, PBS SoCaL/KOCE-HD, PBS SoCaL Plus, and PBS SoCaL World, which are dedicated to educating, entertaining and enlightening viewers throughout Southern California. PBS SoCaL offices are located in Downtown LA, Century City and Costa Mesa.  PBS SoCaL is proudly, our communities’ largest classroom, largest stage for the arts and trusted source of information. Explore the future of PBS in Southern California at www.pbssocal.org.

# # #


Finn Partners

Jess Schmidt

(310) 552-4177