Oral Histories

Interview of Rita Walters

Member of the Los Angeles City Council from 1991 to 2001.
Black Politicians of Los Angeles
Politics and Government
African American History
Biographical Note:
Member of the Los Angeles City Council from 1991 to 2001.
Greene, Sean
Walters, Rita
Persons Present:
Walters and Greene.
Place Conducted:
Walters' home in Los Angeles, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Sean Greene, doctoral candidate, University of Pennsylvania.
Processing of Interview:
The transcript is a verbatim transcription of the recording. It was transcribed by a professional transcribing agency using a list of proper names and specialized terminology supplied by the interviewer. Walters was then given an opportunity to review the transcript and made a number of corrections and additions. Those corrections were entered into the text without further editing or review on the part of the Center for Oral History Research staff.
8.5 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
This series includes interviews with African Americans who were involved in Los Angeles politics from the 1940s to the present day. In addition to African American politicians, it includes individuals who could speak to the political history and influence of the black community in Los Angeles. The series was funded by a UCLA in L.A. Community Partnerships grant and was a joint effort between the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research and the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA.
Walters' family—Growing up in Kansas City, Kansas—Walters' parents' careers—Family's political and community involvement—Childhood friends—Early education—Remembering favorite teachers and subjects—Attitudes towards gender and education—More on family's political involvement, Walters'community growing up—Father's union case that went to the U.S. Supreme Course—Racial segregation and discrimination while growing up in Missouri—Mother's employment during WWII—Family's conversion to Seventh Day Adventism—Working as a typist and transcriber—Attending colleges in Missouri and Alabama—Living briefly in Detroit, Michigan—Encountering racism and finding work back in Kansas City, Missouri—More on local discrimination , segregation, and Brown vs. Board of Education—Getting a job as clerk-typist for the Los Angeles County Probation Department—First coming to California for a church conference—Deciding to move to Los Angeles—Finding a community in East Los Angeles—Marrying Wilbur Walters and starting a family—Moving to Orange County—Walters' three children—Comparing Los Angeles and Placentia, California.
Visiting Nicodemus, Kansas, an all-black town, while growing up—Learning about black history—Joe Louis coming to Kansas—More on Walters' move to Los Angeles in 1955—Involvement in local church, black community, family network—Awareness of the color line in Los Angeles—Meeting her husband through an uncle--Walters' wedding and husband—Encountering discrimination in looking for homes—Living in Placentia, California—Not being concerned about past racial violence in Placentia—Raising children—Son's (David's) childhood health issues—Walters's advocacy for her son's education access—Working with Marnesba Tackett—Mass meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King in Wrigley Field—Taking over as chair of United Civil Rights Council's education committee.