Oral Histories

Interview of David Cunningham

Member of the Los Angeles City Council. Founder of Cunningham Short Berryman and Associates, a public affairs consulting firm advising government officials and small businesses.
Black Politicians of Los Angeles
Politics and Government
African American History
Biographical Note:
Member of the Los Angeles City Council. Founder of Cunningham Short Berryman and Associates, a public affairs consulting firm advising government officials and small businesses.
Jefferson, Alison R.
Cunningham, David S., Jr.
Persons Present:
Cunningham, Jefferson, and Robyn Charles (videographer).
Place Conducted:
Jefferson's home office 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 Alison R. Jefferson; Historic Preservation Consultant; Master of Historic Preservation, University of Southern California, 2007; B.A., Pomona College, 1980. Jefferson prepared for the interview by preparing a telephone pre-interview conversation with David Cunningham to obtain written background information (curriculum vitae, etc.) and agreed on an interviewing schedule. She also reviewed the documentation on Black community political development in Los Angeles, and on Cunningham in the dissertation by Christopher Jimenez y West (More Than My Color: Race, Space & Politics in Black Los Angeles, 1940-1968), the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Sentinel newspapers, and internet web portals, including Air Force Week Los Angeles, The History Makers, and others.
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. Cunningham 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.
7.5 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.
Cunningham’s childhood in Chicago, Freeport, and Decatur, Illinois, and St. Louis, Missouri–-Parents' and grandparents' origins and professions-– Environmental descriptions and impressions of places Cunningham grew up-–Description of family life--People who made an impression on Cunningham in his early life--Jobs he held after school during high school–-Influence of his father and mother on his life--Adolescence and early young adulthood, including career interests, friends, and experiences in St. Louis and in the Air Force–-More on his father and mother's influence–-Discussion of father’s activist role in St. Louis, Missouri and Memphis, Tennessee.
Cunningham’s college and early adulthood years in St. Louis, Missouri at Stowe Teacher’s College and in the Air Force–-Move to Riverside, California with Air Force–-Childhood experience in Decatur, Ill.-–Cunningham family values imparted by parents to him and his siblings-– Father’s time in Memphis and his civil rights movement activities and relationship with Al Gore, Sr.-–First wife, Tekie, and son, David III in Riverside and St. Louis--College enrollment at University of California, Riverside–-Second wife, Fern, and their daughters, Leslie and Robin–-Civic activism in Riverside–-CORO Foundation internship in Los Angeles--Experience of living in Nigeria and traveling around West Africa.