In 1973, Tom Bradley was elected the first black mayor of Los Angeles, California. He kept being re-elected until he served five terms, transforming the city into the modern metropolis we know today. But you might be surprised at his background. One of his grandfathers was a slave. His mom and dad had five boys, and then his dad left. So Tom was raised in poverty by a single mom who worked long hours as a maid. She came home after supper each night (but had cooked it earlier for her boys) and then washed their clothes before going to bed. He felt his mom was responsible for his later success in life. Here's one reason why.


During the week, the young Bradley boys were mostly on their own, but on Sunday their mom took them all to New Hope Baptist Church -- their Sunday home. She wanted them to know they were not fatherless! They had a heavenly Father. Tom hated to disappoint his mom, but sometimes poverty triggered temptation, and he and his school buddies stole small items from the local five-and-dime. One day he was caught with pockets bulging with stolen goods -- a pencil, a sharpener shaped like a globe, two candy bars and some trinkets. He was not arrested, but was required to return the goods to the store. "That night mother had only one thing to say to me," he remembered. He was sad to have disappointed her, and she told him something he remembered for the rest of his life. She said, "It's not what I think, son. It's what God thinks that matters."