“EMPEROR OF THE GREAT 9TH DISTRICT”, LOS ANGELES, CA
LYLE SUTER PAINTS GILBERT LINDSAY, L.A. COUNCILMAN
HONORED, JUNE 1974
FINAL TOUCHES AT SUTER’S HOME ART STUDIO
LINDSAY AT SUTER HOME BALDWIN HILLS
GIL LINDSAY, LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL
Lindsay was born on November 29, 1900, in Mississippi, where he worked in the cotton fields as a youth. He left Mississippi as a teenager and enrolled in a school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He then moved to Arizona, where he joined the Army and served in the 10th Cavalry and the 25th Infantry.
He took classes in governmental administration and political science at the University of Southern California and in business administration at UCLA during the 25 years he worked for the department.
He was tapped by City Council candidate Kenneth Hahn as his aide to turn out the black vote. Hahn won and when he later became a county supervisor he appointed Lindsay as a field deputy, a job that Lindsay held for ten years, until 1963.
AFRICAN AMERICAN PIONEER IN LOS ANGELES POLITICS
Gilbert William Lindsay also known as Gil Lindsay, was a Los Angeles, California, politician who worked his way up from City Hall janitor to become the city's first black City Council member and one of its most powerful elected officials. Wikipedia
As part of an Army program, he studied business administration at the University of Arizona. He moved to Los Angeles in 1923 or 1924 and became a City Hall janitor with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. He took a civil service exam for a clerkship, and he was given a basement office because, he said, his superiors did not want him to sit with whites.
Lindsay became involved in Democratic and labor politics and became so influential that his bosses in Water and Power "called on him to turn out the black vote on various bond issues." He was on the board of directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People from 1953 to 1958 and was also an NAACP vice president.
Lindsay became Los Angeles's first black council member at the age of 62 when, with the backing of the political Hahn brothers Gordon and Kenneth, was appointed to a vacant 9th District Council seat in January 1963 after Ed Roybal won election to Congress. He won election in his own right later in the year and was reelected to eight successive terms. As the years passed, he proclaimed himself the "Emperor of the Great 9th District."
Thank you for visiting our exhibit about Lyle Suter's portrait of Gilbert Lindsay..!