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Crenshaw post office to be renamed for LA’s first African American mayor

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by Cheryl Devall, KPCC

The US Postal Service honors some noteworthy people with commemorative stamps. Twelve years after his death, Los Angeles’ first African American mayor will receive another kind of accolade tomorrow – a post office that bears his name.

There’s poetic justice in the location of the post office at Crenshaw Boulevard and 39th Street.

Many African Americans moved into that area as legal segregation began to crumble. As they moved up the ladder of opportunity, so did Tom Bradley.

He moved to LA from Texas with his parents and excelled in track and football at a mostly-white high school. A track scholarship propelled him to UCLA, but Bradley dropped out to enter the LA police academy.

He spent two decades in the LAPD, studied law at night and won an LA City Council seat. Bradley built a multi-racial coalition that landed him in the mayor’s office on his second try.

During two terms he presided over Los Angeles at its best – the 1984 Summer Olympics – and its worst – the 1992 riots.

After that unrest began, armed postal marshals limited access to the Crenshaw post office as a safety precaution. But it’ll be wide open on the day officials name it after the late mayor Tom Bradley.

The program at 39th Street and Crenshaw Boulevard begins at 10 o’clock Saturday morning. The Postal Service will issue a special postmark from that location for 30 days after the naming ceremony.

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Written by Symphony

November 10, 2010 at 9:03 am

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