Resolution for Paul R. Williams
@ Los Angeles Public Library
Curtis, Rolland J
DescriptionRolland Joseph 'Speedy' Curtis was born in Louisiana in 1922. After serving three years in the Marines during World War II, he and his wife, Gloria, relocated from New Orleans to Los Angeles in 1946. Curtis served four years with the Los Angeles Police Department, but resigned from the force in order to pursue both a Bachelor's and Master's degree from USC. He later became involved in city politics, as an associate of Sam Yorty, and later a field deputy to City Council members Billy Mills and Tom Bradley. He was briefly director of the Model Cities program in 1973. Rolland J. Curtis died in his home in 1979, the victim of a homicide. An affordable housing complex on Exposition Blvd. near Vermont Ave. was named in his honor in 1981, along with a nearby street and park.; Photograph included in the Exhibit: Firsts, Seconds and Thirds: African American Leaders in Los Angeles During the 1960s and '70s from the Rolland J. Curtis Collection.At an early age, Paul R. Williams (1894-1980) knew he wanted to be an architect, despite his high school teacher advising him that "Your own people can't afford you, and white clients won't hire you." Williams learned to draw upside-down so that white clients wouldn't have to sit next to him while he drew. When touring construction sites, his hands were clasped behind him, to allow white people to extend their hand first if they wished to shake his. Williams became the first African American member of...
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