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A.C. Bilbrew and Billy Mills

@ Los Angeles Public Library

Curtis, Rolland J


Rolland 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.Madame A. C. Bilbrew (1888-1992) was the director of the first black choir featured in a film, 1928's Hearts of Dixie, which also happened to be the first black "talkie." She was also a pioneer in radio, becoming the first African American soloist on the radio in 1923, and later, the first African American to have and host a show in 1942. Bilbrew was a champion of women's rights and childhood literacy.; Elected in 1963, Billy G. Mills (1929-) was the third African American to serve on...
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