Tour stop 5: Andrew M. Bradley
Andrew M. Bradley (1906-1983)
e began his political career in the depression, working for the Pennsylvania Department of State as a $20 per week messenger clerk in western Pennsylvania. With a strong interest in politics--Andrew M. Bradley was active in the Young Democrats organization in his hometown of Bedford--Bradley soon caught the attention of party leaders, and Secretary of the Commonwealth David L. Lawrence brought him along to Harrisburg. In the capital city, Bradley worked for the state Auditor General's Office, rising to the position of chief auditor in the 1940's.
In January 1955 Governor George Leader appointed Andrew M. Bradley state Budget Secretary, making him the first African American to serve in a Pennsylvania state Cabinet post. In 1957 Bradley resigned as state Budget Secretary to take a position as state Secretary of Property and Supplies, later serving as head of Property and Supplies under Governor David Lawrence. Bradley's innovations as Secretary of Property and Supplies included support for the development of Pennsylvania's first centralized computer data processing system. He also began public tours of the state Capitol.
As a political leader, Andrew M. Bradley was very active in the Democratic party, serving as a longtime vice president of the Young Democratic Club of Pennsylvania and heading the Negro Division of the Democratic State Committee. He was a delegate to six Democratic national conventions and in 1968 was one of the persons chosen to nominate Hubert H. Humphrey as a presidential candidate, being a good friend of Humphrey from the late 1940's. Bradley was also friends with presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Carter. He retired from state service in 1970.
Bradley remained very active locally after his retirement from state politics. Harrisburg Mayor Harold A. Swenson appointed him to the Harrisburg Redevelopment Authority in 1970 and four years later named him as the city's Business Administrator. Bradley served as chairman of the HRA from 1976-1978, and also served on the city Housing Authority. In the 1980's he oversaw the Neighborhood Stabilization Project of the Urban League of Metropolitan Harrisburg.
His civic roles included board membership and officer positions with the South Central Educational Broadcasting Council, National Association of Public Television Stations, Pennsylvania Public Television Network Commission, Tri-County Association for the Blind, Urban League, NAACP, Capital Area Late Start Center for the Aged, Uptown Late Start Center, Keystone Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, Capital Blue Cross, Hamilton Health Center, Harrisburg Area YMCA and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
As a civic leader some of his major accomplishments include placing WITF-TV and WITF-FM on sound financial footing as board president of South Central Educational Broadcasting Council, and helping to facilitate the much needed renovation of Harrisburg Hospital while a director there. The Andrew M. Bradley Flag Plaza at the hospital's main entrance is named for him.
Very few Blacks are buried in Harrisburg Cemetery. Andrew M. Bradley and his wife Gussie, who died in 2001, are the only two known to us, although there may be others. It is fitting that this man, the son of a minister and the grandson of a slave, who was so dedicated to his state and city, should rest here among so many other city and state notables.
"Andrew Bradley Dies at Age 77." Sunday Patriot-News, December 18, 1983, A1, A8.
"Deaths." The Patriot-News, December 20, 1983, A6.