New LAX video to pay tribute to Tom Bradley


LOS ANGELES — Former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley will be commemorated at the Tom Bradley International Terminal of the Los Angeles International Airport in a new video that will be unveiled Jan. 30.

Bradley, the first and only African-American to hold the seat, is being remembered by the airport as his 100th birthday approaches for his contributions and services to the city of Los Angeles.

The video is a collaboration between Los Angeles World Airports, the Tom and Ethel Bradley Foundation and JCDecaux, the airport’s media advertising contractor.

It was produced by the Holonyne Corporation exclusively for the Great Hall’s Time Tower, a four-sided, 72-foot-tall interactive media screen that was programmed to behave in response to passengers’ movements.

When the Bradley Terminal reopened to the public in September 2013 after renovations, the Bradley family noticed “there was nothing after passing the Transportation Security Administration that told passengers who Tom Bradley was,” Charmaine Jefferson, executive consultant of the Tom and Ethel Bradley Foundation, said.

After proposing the centennial celebration video to JCDecaux, the company’s contractors agreed to produce it, Jefferson said.

“A lot of people, unless they’re over 40, don’t know who Tom Bradley was,” Jefferson said. “We wanted people to see his story, to celebrate his life, his legacy and his commitment to public service in Los Angeles.”

The biographical documentary is expected to be permanently displayed in the Great Hall’s Time Tower.

Bradley’s daughters, Lorraine and Phyllis, will introduce the video at the event. According to LAX spokesperson Katherine Alvarado, 50 people are expected to attend the tribute, including elected officials, family and friends. The event is not open to the public.

“It’s taken years to get to this. I’d walk through the terminal and there was nothing about daddy on the video boards,” Lorraine Bradley said.

“This is a kickoff event of celebrations throughout the year of his 100-year birthday this December. We just want folks to smile, to remember daddy and to remember all that he did for the city, the city he helped to create and loved.”

Bradley, born in Dec. 29 1917, in Calvert, Texas, served five terms as mayor of Los Angeles from 1973 to 1993, making him the longest serving mayor as well as the only black mayor in the city’s history.

A track athlete at UCLA, he joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 1940 where he served for 21 years and eventually rose to the rank of lieutenant in 1958. Unable to continue his ascension due to the covert racism existent within the LAPD, Bradley left his position with a degree in law, which he earned from taking night classes at Southwestern Law School while he worked for the department.

A year following his resignation as lieutenant, Bradley was elected as City Councilman  to represent the 10th District in 1963. A decade later, he was elected mayor, after losing a bitter election in 1969.

The Tom Bradley International Terminal was dedicated to Bradley in 1984 after it opened.

He died of a heart attack in 1998 at the age of 80.

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