Tom Bradley with Vivian and Vernon Strange
@ 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.Vivian Strange was the first African American woman to be promoted to the rank of Sergeant at the LAPD. She served for 23 years at the department of Public Relations before she retired. Strange had a complicated relationship with other LAPD officers, refusing to ride in the same car with many white officers when driving to South Los Angeles. She opted to drive herself, understanding that black women who rode in cars with white men were likely to be seen as prostitutes, which would undermine her authority...
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