Oral Histories

Interview of Lillian Mobley

Advocate for Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center. Executive director of South Central Multipurpose Senior Citizen Center.
Twenty-Five Years of Community Organizing and Institution Building in the Aftermath of Watts: 1965-1990
Social Movements
African American History
Community Activism
Biographical Note:
Advocate for Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center. Executive director of South Central Multipurpose Senior Citizen Center.
Stevenson, Alva Moore
Mobley, Lillian
Persons Present:
Mobley and Stevenson.
Place Conducted:
Mobley's 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 Alva Moore Stevenson, Series Coordinator, UCLA Center for Oral History Research; B.A., English, UCLA; M.A., African American Studies (Latin American Concentration).Stevenson prepared for the interview by perusing the files of Congress member Alfred S. Moore and various primary and secondary sources related to the Watts Rebellion of 1965 and urban unrest in the U.S.
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. Mobley did not review the transcript, and therefore some proper names may remain unverified.
2.5 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
This series documents community organizations and institutions that arose in the aftermath of the Watts Rebellion to address issues such as education, employment, healthcare, housing, transportation, and police harassment. The first phase of the series involved interviews with key organizers of the Black Congress, an umbrella organization of Black activist groups whose purpose was to reconstruct the community.
Family origins in Macon, Georgia—Father's, mother’s, and grandparents’ occupations—Mobley’s neighborhood as a child—Early education—Mix of classes in elementary school—Role of religion in her upbringing—Church’s involvement in the community—Awareness of race.
Ku Klux Klan—Parents instilling pride—Choice of career—Extent of vocational and postsecondary preparation in high school.
Mobley’s siblings—Class dynamics in her neighborhood—Black businesses—Preference based on lighter skin color—Awareness of civil rights movement in Macon—Brother’s decision to move north—Moving to Los Angeles—Impressions of the city—Lack of “comfort zone”—Changing demographics of Mobley’s neighborhood—Beginnings of community involvement in schools—Black Student Union at Fremont High School—Booker Griffin—Speaking to Black women residents about community issues—Responding to the Rebellion of 1965—Joining Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)—Efficacy of the Black Congress.
Origins of King Drew Hospital—Role of Ablyn Winge—Key players—Community medical needs prior to opening of King—Opposition to hospital and battle to keep it on track—The term Killer King— Factors in King’s decline—Department of Healthcare Services—Lack of resources and administrative control—Role of County Supervisors Kenneth Hahn and Yvonne Burke—Legacy of Hahn.
Los Angeles Times articles—Responsibility of entire County Board of Supervisors.
More on King Hospital’s decline—Role of state and federal lawmakers--How to turn around the decline—Need for genuine commitment—Mobley becomes an advocate for Charles Drew University—Drew's failure to synchronize with King Hospital—University’s disconnection with the hospital—Mobley’s removal from Drew University Board—Efforts to revive hospital--Brotherhood Crusade—Opal Jones.
Take Back the Community tackles quality of life issues—Southern Christian Leadership Conference—Reverend James Lawson—Congress of Racial Equality—Legacy of Celestus King, III—Mothers in Action—South Central Multipurpose Senior Citizen Center—Neighborhood Adult Participation Project—Impact of War on Poverty funds.
Birthing Project.
Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles—Black American Political Association of California—Proposition A—Southwest College.
Mobley’s role in improving education of community’s children—Fight for King Hospital—Effect of struggle on health of community leaders.