Friday, May 29, 2015

Patricia Lofland - Big Dreams Do Come True

I would like my legacy to be: "I helped you, whoever 'you' might be at the time."

Patricia Lofland
First African American Member/President
Long Beach City College Board of Trustees

Member & President 
Personnel Commission of Southern California 

National Member, Executive Board of Directors
Community College Trustees Association

Member & Secretary
Los Angeles County Grand Jury

Long Beach Unified School District Personnel Commission

Invited Guest
President Barack Obama, 2009 Inauguration

Senate Leadership Award
Community activist for more than 50 years, starting with service as a voting pole volunteer and, as a result of her quantitative civic involvement, she was appointed to the Personnel Commission of the Long Beach Unified School District, served on numerous other commissions, and won a variety of local, state and national wards and commendations, including, Marquis Who's Who Among American Women 2002-3.

Patricia Lofland was born in New Orleans. Her parents, Willie and Philomene Seymore, arrived in Long Beach in 1952.

Patricia Lofland, Grandmother,
 Josephine Daniels' Diploma
New Orleans Public Schools
Patricia Lofland comes from a long line of educated ancestors. One educational document treasured and persevered by Lofland was awarded to her grandmother, Josephine Daniels, in 1902 from New Orleans Public Schools. 

Jerome Richardson Scholarship Award
As a little girl growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana, and descending from an educated family, Lofland always knew she wanted to be college educated. In her pursuit of a college education, she worked hard and won the Jerome Richardson Scholarship Award.

The Rest of the Story - Patricia Lofland earned:

  • Associate’s Degree - Long Beach City College
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree – California State University, Dominguez Hills
  • Master of Arts Degree – California State University, Dominguez Hills
  • Certification - Seminary Los Angeles Bible Training School
  • Missionary Three-Part Certification, - Christ Second Baptist Church

Patricia Lofland went on to create an amazing story of courage and resilience, contributing significantly to the cultural history of Long Beach, California. 

First African American to be elected to the Board of Trustees of Long Beach City College

President of the Personnel Commission of Southern California 

Patricia Lofland, a little girl with big dreams

Age Six, First Grade
During those early years in Long Beach, Lofland held on to her dreams of getting an education, not only for her own betterment, but as an example to her children. It was cold and damp in Long Beach the year that she arrived, but she was soon riding buses to work by day and, by night, she was riding buses to Long Beach City College (LBCC).

“I remember vividly the bus rides to work that first winter because, in New Orleans, the buses ran every ten minutes, cost ten cents to ride and crisscrossed the city in every direction. In Long Beach, buses ran every forty minutes and cost forty cents a ride.”

Lofland rode buses and went to school with the idea that some day she would have that education she so longed to have. She worked her way up into a professional career from a working life which she started at a car wash, earning her first paycheck of $75.00 for a week's work. 

Each job after that carried more responsibility and pay, allowing Lofland to maintain the home she had purchased in 1963, and still calls it home today. Maintaining her faith in God with a genuine concern for people--to this day, more than a half century later--she continues to volunteer and show her devotion to God and humanity in any possible way, as in sound advice, food, clothing, a safe place for their children to visit or whatever the need may be. 

Age 17, Queen of the Debutantes
Presented by the Lady Stars
Social & Pleasure Club Annual Ball
New Orleans, Louisiana
Lofland was an excellent student while attending St. Raymond Catholic School in New Orleans and was active in many community activities such as the Lady Stars Social & Pleasure Club Annual Ball, where she was presented as a Debutante in 1953 and as Queen of the Debutantes in 1954. Experiences like this one prepared the young woman for a future awaiting her on a different coast. 

“I came to California in 1960,” Lofland said. “By 1963, I was divorced and a single mother of five with only a high school education. “I started from that point in my life with no previous work experience, no job, no car, and no overcoat because I had been told it didn’t get cold here, just sunshine and beaches. But, through it all, I maintained my desire for an education."

Patricia Lofland describes herself as an educator by profession and a volunteer/community activist by choice. 

Although her mother had been active in politics, Lofland never considered herself a political person. But that changed when she became the first African American to win election for a position on the Long Beach City College Board of Trustees.

"People came out and showed me love that I just didn’t know was there. People I had taught in Head Start came up to me. They would say, Mrs. Lofland, I heard you were running for office. I am so happy to know that and I am going to vote for you. And some mothers would say of their children, “She can vote now. I told her she has to register so she can vote for you. I raised over seventeen thousand dollars without any effort," Lofland said. "At the end of the four years (LBCC Board of Trustees), I knew politics was not for me. That took care of my political life. I wanted to be available to serve others in other ways." 

Lofland considers herself a "Veteran of President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty"

After receiving her teaching credentials, Lofland became a school teacher, her dream job, as she refers to her classroom years. This job afforded her the time to pursue her second biggest dream in life. By becoming an independent travel agent she was able to realize another childhood dream of traveling throughout the world. 

As a child, Lofland sang the song, "Faraway Places with strange sounding names are calling me...I have to see for myself." And she did. Many years later, she bought the sheet music her favorite childhood melody to the song and learned it was actually a jingle for Pan American Airlines, which provided the first international flights from the United States.

Patricia & Trusten Lofland
Wedding Day
In 1974, Patricia married Trusten Lofland, the third African American Long Beach Policeman and third African American California Highway Patrolman.

Because of personal triumphs, professional accomplishments and contributions to the City of Long Beach, Long Beach Legend, Patricia Lofland, is part of BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way, a Long Beach Signature Project and Exhibition of historic portraiture and photographic restorations, document reproductions, artifacts, and ancestral papers. 

BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way will be a two-week-long exhibition that will dynamically add to the understanding of the roles of African American female leaders and their individual triumphs within the racial and cultural history of Long Beach, California, and demonstrate the difference they made in the lives of all residents of the City of Long Beach, regardless of age, education, race, ethnic background, nationality, gender, profession, physical condition, economic level or mental challenges or other factors that tend to affect people’s acceptance or rejection of a subject.

Cover Photo by Carolyn Smiths Watts, Shoreline Village, 
Published in Tuttle Cameras One Camera Project, Exhibited at the Historical Society of Long Beach. 
(Standing left to right): Evelyn Knight marched with Martin Luther King from Selma to Montgomery; Patricia Lofland, first black member of Long Beach City College Board of Trustees; Bobbie Smith, first black LB woman elected to public office and has a school named for her; Alta Cooke, first black high school principal; Carrie Bryant, city’s first black private school operator; Vera Mulkey, the City’s first black Chief of Staff; Wilma Powell, the nation’s first female Chief Wharfinger; Doris Topsy-Elvord, first African American Long Beach Harbor Commissioner & first black female LB Vice Mayor; (Seated left to right): Autrilla Scott, city’s first black LB citizen with street named for her; Maycie Herrington, recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal; Dale Clinton’s letter to President Johnson is archived at the Library of Congress; and (not present): Lillie Mae Wesley, neighborhood parent for 30 years with LB Parks & Recreation.

Grand Opening
Long Beach Public Library
(101 Pacific Ave.)
3:00 p.m. Tuesday, September 29, 2015, 
Atrium Center & Theater, 
2:00 p.m. Press Conference
Loraine & Earl Burns Miller Special Collections Room
2:00 p.m. Reception 
Atrium Garden

The multifaceted signature project, BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way Exhibition, is comprised of archival portraiture, ancestral photographic restorations, artifacts, historic papers, archaic document reproductions, memorabilia, and newspaper and magazine clippings collected, organized by award-winning humanitarian Carolyn Smith Watts, and award-winning author and photojournalist Sunny Nash, on 12 African American Women who made a Difference in the Cultural History of Long Beach, California.


The Port of Long Beach demonstrated its commitment to equal employment access and professional opportunity over the years by appointing the first female Chief Wharfinger in the nation, one of the Legends of this project; and continues that commitment with its support of this project.

Sponsors, donors, partners and contributors committed to date are listed here. Others will be joining the list in the near future. All are welcome to LIKE the Legends on FaceBook.

In 2015, after Nash won a 2015 Arts Council for Long Beach Professional Artist Fellowship to design a Museum Catalogue and restore photographs, BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way became a Signature Project of photo restorations, artifacts, document reproductions, ancestral papers and online resources.

Molina Healthcare

For more than 30 years, Molina has been providing quality, affordable health care to individuals and families covered by government programs. 


Andy Street 
Community Association

BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way Exhibition previewed at the Andy Street Community Association's Bixby Knolls EXPO Event in February. Hundreds of spectators were able to get a glimpse of the coming exhibition, scheduled to open in September. 

At the June 5th First Friday Event in Bixby Knolls, there will be an exhibit preview at the Historical Society of Long Beach featuring 230 collective years of educational accomplishments of the 12 Legends of BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way.

Tuttle Cameras Long Beach
Based on the collection of historical profiles, published in 2007, edited by Sunny Nash, and foreword by Carolyn Smith Wattswhose award-winning photograph of the Long Beach Living Legends was published in the Tuttle Cameras book, One Camera Long Beach.

Chick-fil-A Towne Center, Long Beach

John Howard of the Chick-fil-A Towne Center Long Beach was present that crisp sunny day in September at the Shoreline Village photo session when the historic picture of the Legends was taken.

International Realty & Investments

The project also includes oral history, new photo/video capture and recently discovered images and artifacts that will also be included in a series of television programs on LBTV, the Television Station owned and operated by the City of Long Beach.


City of Long Beach

Long Beach dignitaries will attend and participate in The Grand Opening. Southern California Media organizations will be invited to a Press Conference at 2:00 p.m. in the Loraine & Earl Burns Miller Special Collections Room of the Long Beach Public Library.

Long Beach Public Library, Main Branch
The Long Beach Public Library will host the event in its Atrium Center & Theater off of City Hall Public Plaza, 101 Pacific Ave., Long Beach, California. There will a VIP Reception in the Atrium Garden prior to the program and the screening of a film and online resources.


Long Beach City College
Long Beach Unified 
School District

Long Beach City College (LBCC) and Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) will play equally significant roles in as education partners in advertising the event to their respective constituents. Both have student bodies and faculty to which they will provide electronic announcements on their Internet and broadcast communication systems. Both LBCC and LBUSD can lay claim to several Legends, who either taught, served as officials or attended both LBCC and LBUSD

Los Angeles County 
Sheriff's Department
Los Angeles Sheriff's Department in collaboration with the Long Beach Unified School District will participate in a mini-exhibit and event at Jordan High School, where student government officers will also be present to participate in a seminar involving one of the Legends who was an official of the school.

This event commemorates the historical relationship between Long Beach Unified School District and Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.

Content © Copyright 2015 BREAKING THROUGH  Lighting the WayAll Rights Reserved Worldwide.

~Thank You~

Breaking Through Lighting the Way


  1. Congratulations Patricia, I am so proud of you!

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