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Oral Histories

The Tom & Ethel Bradley Center contains over four dozen oral histories from African American photographers, Civil Rights leaders and organizers, individuals involved with the history of Los Angeles, Journalism, Mexicans in Exile, and the United Farmworkers. Audio and video comprise the collection along with the personal papers of many individuals and organizations.

For access to transcripts, audio and other materials please contact the Bradley Center.

Available: Check out video clips on our YouTube Channel

Projects:

 

 

African American Community

Aubry, Larry
Interviewer: K. Rice & I. Sosa
Date: 2013
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Larry Aubry is a writer for the Los Angeles Sentinel and community activist who collaborates with disadvantaged Black communities in Los Angeles.  Aubry’s activism and strong will were motivated by his experiences with racism at Jefferson High School, where he was amongst the first Black students to attend the school in the 1940s. 
 

Backstrom, Warner
Interviewer: K. Rice
Date: 2013
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Warner Backstrom is a former Los Angeles city examination administrator and Seagram’s account representative. He is presently working in the insurance sector of the finance industry. Mr. Backstrom and his many brothers and sisters are prominent members of the tight-knit African American community who grew up on the East Side of Los Angeles during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. View clips here.

 
Branton, Sterling (1925- )
Interviewer: K. Rice
Date: 2014
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Sterling Branton drove to California with his older brother Leo Branton Jr. after serving in the Navy during World War II. After graduating from UCLA in Zoology and working odd jobs he became a mechanical engineer for Lockheed Aircraft Company. Mr. Branton discusses his family life growing up in Pine Bluff, the African American community in Los Angeles, and he and his brother, attorney Leo Branton’s families and careers in Los Angeles.
 
Brown, June
Interviewer: K. Rice
Date: 2013
Status: Not transcribed, eng
 
Burke, Yvonne Bratwaite
Interviewer: K. Rice
Date: 2013
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Yvonne Brathwaite Burke is a former member of the United States House of Representatives from California and retired Los Angeles County Supervisor. View clips here.
 
Carter, Nola Mae (1918- )
Interviewer: K. Rice
Date: 2015
Status: Transcribed, eng
Nola Mae Carter, discusses her migration to Los Angeles, raising her family, and her community activism with Lilian Mobley. Mrs. Carter is the mother of the late Arthur Glen Morris. and Al Prentice "Bunchy" Carter, the founder of the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party.
 
Green, Gwen (1925- )
Interviewer: K. Kirkton & K. Rice
Date: 2013
Status: Transcribed, eng
Gwen Green, Civil Rights activist and former executive secretary for the Western Christian Leadership Conference and Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Mrs. Green organized and oversaw many important demonstrations and protests. She worked closely with Dr. King, Hosea Williams, Harry Belafonte, Andrew Young, Sammy Davis Jr. and movement supporters in Los Angeles such as Marlon Brando, Burt Lancaster, Paul Newman, and Joanne Woodward.
 
Hartsfield, Arnett L. (1918- )
Interviewer: K. Rice
Date: 2014
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Arnett Hartsfield was the 80th African American to be hired by the Los Angeles Fire Department. After serving in the military during WWII he was one of the first African Americans transferred to an all-white fire station where he faced harassment and threats. He earned his law degree at USC in 1955. He quit the fire department in 1961 to practice law full time.
 
Jefferson, Charmaine (1954- )
Interviewer: K. Rice
Date: 2014
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Charmaine Jefferson is the executive director of the California African American Museum since 2003. She began her career as a dancer and held positions with New York City's Department of Cultural Affairs, Dance Theatre of Harlem and the National Endowment for the Arts.
 
Jenkins, James
Interviewer: K. Rice
Date: 2013
Status: Not transcribed, eng
James Jenkins is a retired property manager for the County of Los Angeles. He is a member of the tight-knit African American community who grew up on the East Side of Los Angeles during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. View clips here.
 
Marshall, Ray
Interviewer: K. Rice
Date: 2013
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Ray Marshall is a retired training director for Lockheed Aircraft. He is a member of the tight-knit African American community who grew up on the East Side of Los Angeles during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.
 
Nicholas, Tony (1945- )
Interviewer: K. Rice
Date: 2014
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Tony Nicholas is a civil rights activist and the son and nephew of tap-dance duo Fayard and Harold Nicholas. He is also the stepson of American trial, entertainment, and civil rights attorney, Leo Branton Jr.
 
Pace Flood, Judy (1942- )
Interviewer: K. Rice
Date: 2014
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Judy Pace Flood is an actress, model, and community activist.  She is the first African American woman to have a contract with a major film studio and one of the first African American women to be featured on popular American television programs.
 
Parks, Bernard
Interviewer: K. Rice
Date: 2014
Status: Transcribed, eng
Bernard Parks has served as councilman for the 8th district of Los Angeles, California since 2003. He is also the former police chief of Los Angeles serving in that capacity from 1997-2002. In this oral history interview Councilman Parks discusses his family’s migration to Los Angeles, growing up in the African American community in Los Angeles, and his career in public service.
 
Parks, Gertrude (1920- )
Interviewer: K. Rice
Date: 2014
Status: Transcribed, eng
Gertrude Parks is the mother of City Councilman and former Police Chief Bernard Parks. Mrs. Parks is a descendant of ex-slave Marie Theresa Coincoin (Metoyer) a landowner, planter, and businesswoman at the colonial Louisiana outpost of Natchitoches.
 
Sandoz John
Interviewer: K. Rice
Date: 2013
Status: Not transcribed, eng
John H. Sandoz is former judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court.  Sandoz’s family migrated to Los Angeles in 1936 when he was three years old.  Sandoz shares his personal and family’s experiences with racism. View clips here.
 
Thompson, Otis (1936- )
Interviewer: K. Rice
Date: 2013
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Otis Thompson discusses his family and early years growing up Louisiana and how his father refused to be intimidated by whites and the complex relationships that existed in the south between Blacks and whites. He discusses how these early experiences may have influenced some of his decisions to engage in activities that were a little less than legal.
 
Viltz, Stanley Benson (1944- )
Interviewer: K. Rice
Date: 2013
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Dr. Stanley Camilla Benson Viltz is the co-founder of the Black Women’s Leadership Conference, former vice president of Compton Community College and retired associate provost of student affairs at Bennett College.
 
Watson, Diane E. (1933- )
Interviewer: K. Rice
Date: 2014
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Diane Watson has worked as a teacher, health occupation specialist and served as a member of the Los Angeles Unified School Board (1975-1978). She has served in the California State Senate (1978-1998), Ambassador to Micronesia (1999-2000), and US Representative for California’s 33rd congressional district (2001-2011).
 
Weldon, Ann (1933- )
Interviewer: K. Rice
Date: 2014
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Ann Weldon is a singer, actress, activist, and philanthropist. She began her career in the 1950s performing in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and on Broadway. Her film and television credits include Clint Eastwood’s Bird, A Different World, and Martin.
 
Williams, Betty Smith (1929- )
Interviewer: K. Rice
Date: 2014
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Dr. Betty Smith Williams has been considered one of the most influential African Americans in the field of nursing and public health. She is one of the founding members of the National Black Nurses Association and former dean of the University of Colorado, School of Nursing. She started teaching public health nursing in 1956 in Los Angeles, and was the first African American nurse to teach in a collegiate-level program in the state of California.
 
White, Marilyn (1944- )
Interviewer: C. Powell and K. Rice
Date: 2014
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Marilyn White is an Olympic Silver medalist, retired educator, motivational speaker and vocalist.
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Black Gallery

 
Adams, Harry (1918-1985)
Interviewer: R. Charles
Date: 1983
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Adams worked as a freelancer for the California Eagle and Los Angeles Sentinel for 35 years. He became known for his images of politicians, entertainers, and society figures in Los Angeles. The interviewer, Roland Charles, was the founder and executive director of the Black Photographers of California and the Black Gallery. 
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Black Photographers Roundtable

 
Bingham, Howard (1939- )
Interviewer: R. Charles
Date: 2000
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Bingham became one of the most accomplished African American photographers in the industry. It was while working for the Sentinel that Bingham was assigned to cover Muhammad Ali. Bingham has traveled the world documenting Ali’s life as well as some of histories most memorable events.
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Border Studies

Journalism Oral History

 
Carleton, Herb (1927-1992)
Interviewer: C. Bennett
Date: 1991
Status:Transcribed, eng
Photographer Herb Carleton worked for the Los Angeles Daily News and The Hollywood Citizen News. Carleton photographed many sports and entertainment events, and was the official photographer of Shipstad and Johnson Ice Capades.
 
Cleaver, James
Interviewer: K. Kirkton
Date: 1991
Status: Transcribed, eng 
 
Olender, Ben
Interviewer: B. Harvey
Date: 1991
Status: Transcribed, eng
Ben Oleander, former Times photographer. 
 
Harvey, Bill (1916- )
Interviewer: K. Kirkton; C. Otto
Date: 1991; 1992
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Bill Harvey (a.k.a. William Harvey) began his career in Los Angeles in 1942 as a publicity and commercial news photographer. He photographed for many clients– from the Academy Awards to the Republican National Convention.
 
Pye Jr., Brad (1931- )
Interviewer: K. Kirkton
Date: 1991
Status: Transcribed, eng
Pye began to work for L.A. County in 1987 as assistant chief deputy to then-County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn. He worked under another county supervisor, Yvonne Braithwaite Burke; was the first black to be appointed to the L.A. City Parks and Recreation Commission in 1968; and worked as a division chief for the Department of Children and Family Services beginning in 1993. Pye served as sports editor for the L.A. Sentinel for 30 years and currently writes a sports column in the L.A. Watts Times and Inland Valley News newspapers. 
 
Robinson, Edward "Abe" (1915-2001)
Interviewer: K. Kirkton
Date: 1991
Status: Not transcribed
Robinson is a former reporter for the Los Angeles Sentinel and the California Eagle. 
 
Rodriquez, Roberto (1954- )
Interviewer: M. Witten
Date: 1995
Status: Transcription only, eng
Although not a member of the UFW, Rodriquez participated in strikes. His primary contribution to the UFW has been as a journalist.  
 
Smith, David
Interviewer: V. Squibb
Date: 1982
Status: Transcription only, eng
 
Watson, Coy (1912-2009)
Interviewer: K. Kirkton & R. Marshall
Date: 1991
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Coy Watson (a.k.a James Caughey Watson Jr.) was a child actor and later became a Los Angeles based news photographer for CBS and cameraman. Watson served in the US Coast Guard during World War II as a Boatswains Mate and Chief Photographer.  

audio  Clip 1: Watson describes when he photographed the gangster Mickey Cohen. The congenial Cohen was arrested one evening and released within a few minutes.

audio  Clip 2: Watson discusses the attitude of Bing Crosby and his relationship with the press. The photographers boycotted taking Crosby’s pictures after an event he refused to pose for. After discussing the situation with the studio, Crosby’s attitude toward the press changed.

audio  Clip 3: The morning after Pearl Harbor Watson was assigned to a group of secret service men in Palos Verdes, CA. Watson photograph the layout of a shack believed to be used by Japanese Americans during the war. He captured images of Japanese Americans loading trains and reminisces on his own experiences.

audio  Clip 4: Everyone has a story to tell. Watson discusses why one individual would want to end his life.

audio  Clip 5: Watson continues his story about the man who tried to end his life. He recalls the conversation he had with the individual and shares the man’s story of how he attempted to end his life.

 
Yaro, Boris
Interviewer: M. Giacopuzzi
Date: 1991
Status: Not transcribed
 
Yehuda, Lev
Interviewer:
Date: 1991
Status: Not transcribed
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Photographers

 
Charles, Roland (1938-2000)
Interviewer: J. Rose
Date: 1999
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Roland Charles was the founder and executive director of the Black Photographers of California and the Black Gallery. 
 
Cropper, Don (1932-1999)
Interviewer: J. Rose
Date: 1999
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Cropper was a Los Angeles-based photographer whose work appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Sentinel, Ebony magazine, Variety, DownBeat and Billboard music magazines. His subjects included Muhammad Ali, Cesar Chavez, Miles Davis, John F. Kennedy and Andrew Young.
 
Davis, Jack (1920-2004)
Interviewer: J. Rose
Date: 1995, 1999
Status: Not transcribed, eng
In both his freelance work and work for the Herald Dispatch, Jack Davis chronicled the African-American community. Davis opened the Modern Arts Photography Studio in Los Angeles in the 1950’s and taught photography at the high school and community college levels. He was active in the community, working to promote photography and take what he called “people pictures.” 
 
Douglas, Bob (1921-2002)
Interviewer: J. Rose
Date: 1999
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Douglas began his career in the early 1940’s as nightclub photographer in Detroit, Michigan. Douglas worked for many newspapers and magazines such as the California Eagle, the Los Angeles Sentinel and for Ebony and Sepia magazines as well as doing free-lance work. 
 
Moorehead, Howard (1927-2003)
Interviewer: J. Rose
Date: 1999
Status: Not transcribed, eng
Howard Moorehead served as a Tuskegee Airmen in World War II. He worked as a news photographer for the Los Angeles Sentinel in the 1950s, and in 1958 became the first West Coast staff photographer for Johnson Publications. 
 
Williams, Robert W. (1922-1997)
Interviewer: R. Williams
Date: 1996
Status: Transcription only, eng
Williams served in World War II as a Tuskegee Airman. After the war he began a successful career as a sales executive.
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Restrictive Covenant Oral History

 
Fears, Pauletta
Interviewer:
Date: 1992
Status: Not transcribed, eng 
 
McTernan, John
Interviewer:
Date: 1993
Status: Not transcribed, eng
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The United Farmworkers (UFW) Oral History

 The United Farmworkers (UFW) Oral History Collection finding aid is located on the Oviatt Library's database. Click here to go to the finding aid. Below is a list of available oral histories.

Adair, Doug (1942- )
Status: Transcribed, eng
Adair joined the UFW the day before the 1965 Delano grape strike began. He was a striker, a picketer, an aide in the legal office and an editor of the newSpaper, El Malcriado.

Burciaga, David (1923-2011)
Status: Transcribed, eng
Burciaga worked with farm worker movement leaders, including Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta and Gilbert Padilla, beginning in the 1950s. For many years he served as the UFW's chief negotiator, working with farm workers and bargaining with growers to hammer out important union contracts.

Cadena, Amelia

Chandler, Bill (1941- )
Status: Transcribed, eng
Summer agricultural jobs led Chandler to membership in the United Fruit Workers, working with founders, Dolores Huerta, Gilbert Padilla, and Cesar Chavez.

Chavez, Richard (1929-2011)
Richard Chavez worked with his brother, César Chávez, to organize farm workers in the early 1960s. Chavez served as a board member of the UFW and was first director of the National Farm Workers Service Center in 1966.

Cruz, Jesse de la (1919- )
Status: Transcribed, eng
Jessie de la Cruz (a.k.a. Jesse Lopez) was a striker and the union's first woman organizer. After working in humiliating conditions for over 30 years, she took a stand in 1964 after hearing Cesar Chavez speak.

Espinoza, Pablo

Hartmire, Chris (1932- )
Status: Transcribed, eng
Reverend Chris Hartmire (a.k.a. Wayne C. Hartmire) worked as a youth minister in East Harlem after seminary, at the Church of the Resurrection. In 1961 he succeeded Doug Still as Director of California Migrant Ministry. The Migrant Ministry provided support to Cesar Chavez and United Farm Workers.

Herrera, Angie and Carmen Hernandez
Status: Transcribed, eng
Sisters Angie Herrera and Carmen Hernandez are members of the UFW.

Hernandez, Carmen (1949- )
Status: Transcribed, eng
Carmen Hernandez was a picketer and secretary for the United Farm Workers.

Hernandez, Helen
Status: Transcribed, eng
Helen (Serda) Hernandez is an ex-farmworker and activist with the UFW. Hernandez joined the strikers, even picketing the fields that her parent's worked in when they crossed the picket lines. Her is father, Joe Serda.

Hernandez, Julio
Status: Transcribed, spa

Jones, Nick (1942- )
Status: Transcribed, eng
In 1966 Jones joined the National Farm Workers Association. Jones rose to the position of National Boycott Director, but resigned when accuse by Cesar Chavez of being a communist and leading a kind of a left movement of some sorts within the union to take control of it.

Montoya, Daneen
Status: Transcribed, eng
Montoya was a boycotter for the United Farm Workers in San Jose, California. She worked on the presidential campaigns of John and Robert Kennedy. Following their assassinations she became active in the farm workers union.

Padilla, Gilbert (1927- )
Status: Transcribed, eng
Along with Cesar Chavez and Delores Huerta, Padilla was a founding member of the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) in 1962. He was Secretary-Treasurer for the United Farm Worker. Padilla remained with the UFW until he was forced to resign in 1980.

Ramos Chandler, Irene
Status: Transcribed, eng
Ramos Chandler and her husband committed to being organizers when he became curious about the Juertes Union.

Saludado, Antonia

Saludado de Magana, Maria

Serda, Joe (1928- )
Status: Transcribed, eng
Serda started working in the fields at the age of ten. Serda continued to work during the 1965 Delano strike, but under cover he was working with the Union organizing members of his crew.

Sosa, Danilo

Valdez, Luis (1940- )
Valdez is acknowledged as the founder of modern Chicano theater and film. He joined the United Farm Workers and formed El Teatro Campesino that staged improvisation theater.

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