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Chester R. Crain

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chester R. Crain
Chester R. Crain - Compton College - 1968.jpg
Crain in 1968
Mayor of Compton, California
In office
Preceded byDel M. Clawson
Succeeded byDouglas Dollarhide
City Council of Compton, California
In office
Preceded byUnknown
Succeeded byUnknown
Personal details
Chester Russell Crain

(1914-03-15)March 15, 1914
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
DiedDecember 13, 1984(1984-12-13) (aged 70)
Fresno, California area, U.S.
ParentsCarl R. Crain
Lillie Crain

Chester R. Crain (March 15, 1914 – December 13, 1984)[1][2] served as mayor of Compton, California during a period of enormous transition.

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Chester Russell Crain was a native of Des Moines, Iowa.[3] He was the third of at least nine children born to Carl R. and Lillie (Smith) Crain. In the 1920s, the family moved to California and settled in the Signal Hill area.[4]

He was employed as track and field coach and a professor of English at Compton Community College. In 1953, Crain was elected to the Compton City Council, representing the 2nd District. He became the city's mayor after the resignation of Congressman-elect Del Clawson in 1963. He served as mayor of Compton, California during a tumultuous period in the city's history. Unlike some of his predecessors that were uncomfortable with the town's growing black population, Crain attempted to build bridges and make Compton a model of integration.[5]

However, just a few months after his re-election in 1965, the Watts Riots broke out in the adjacent community in Los Angeles. He was an outspoken critic of Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty and accused him of neglecting the predominantly African American community. He was once quoted as saying, "Has he ever been to Watts?"

In the wake of the riots many of the remaining whites left Compton and moved to new suburbs in nearby Los Angeles County communities such as Lakewood or to Orange County, a few miles south of Compton.[citation needed]

During his tenure, Compton's city council became majority African American. In 1969, he did not seek re-election and watched as City Councilman Douglas F. Dollarhide became the city's first black chief executive. By that time, the population of Compton was roughly 65% black.[citation needed]

After leaving office, Crain moved to the northern part of the state. He died in the Fresno, California area at the age of 70.[1] He was living in Tulare County at the time of his death.[2]


  1. ^ a b "California Death Index, 1940-1997 [database on-line]". United States: The Generations Network. Retrieved 2008-07-23. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b "Social Security Death Index [database on-line]". United States: The Generations Network. Retrieved 2008-07-23. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]". Des Moines Ward 4, Polk County, Iowa, United States: The Generations Network. 1920. p. 5B. Retrieved 2008-07-25. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: location (link)
  4. ^ "1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]". Signal Hill, Los Angeles County, California, United States: The Generations Network. 1930. p. 1A. Retrieved 2008-07-25. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Chester R. Crain, 70; Ex-Mayor of Compton". Los Angeles Times. 1984-12-16. p. D20. Retrieved 2008-07-23. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
Political offices
Preceded by
Compton, California City Council
2nd District

1953 – 1963
Succeeded by
Lionel Cade?
Preceded by
Del Clawson
Mayor of Compton, California
1963 – 1969
Succeeded by
Douglas Dollarhide

This page was last edited on 6 October 2020, at 05:11
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