Firsts, Seconds and Thirds
African American Leaders in Los Angeles During the 1960s and '70s from the Rolland J. Curtis Collection
Edited by Kristine Protacio Preface by Christina Rice
Civil Rights took shape in 1960s Los Angeles as African Amaricans broke color barriers and began to occupy positions in government. Progress during this time extended past politics, to the realm of entertainment, commerce, public service and activism. It is in the midst of this exciting time that Rolland J. Curtis (right) took thousands of photographs while serving as a Field Deputy for Council Members Billy Mills and Tom Bradley.
Curtis' images provide a unique view of the African American experience in South Los Angeles during this time. This book presents a sampling of Curtis's photographic archive, now housed at the Los Angeles Public Library, as well as a glimpse at some of the city's black leaders of the period. Some famous, some forgotten, these individuals were true trailblazers: the first, second, or third African Americans in the history of Los angeles to accomplish their feats.
Formed in 1990, Photo Friends is a nonprofit organization that supports the Los Angeles Public Library's Photograph Collection and History & Genealogy Department. Our goal is to improve access to the collections and promote them through programs, projects, and books such as this one. We are an enthusiastic group of photographers, writers, historians, business people, politicians, academics, and many others, all bonded by our passion for photography, history, and Los Angeles.