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Doris Topsy-Elvord

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Information about Doris Topsy-Elvord

Profile image of Doris Topsy-Elvord

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
City Council Member

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple, Red
Favorite Food:
String Beans, Greens (Collard)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere
Favorite Quote:
You Can Get Anything Done If You Don't Care Who Gets The Glory.

Birthplace

Born:
6/17/1931
Birth Location:
Vicksburg, Mississippi

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
City Council Member

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple, Red
Favorite Food:
String Beans, Greens (Collard)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere
Favorite Quote:
You Can Get Anything Done If You Don't Care Who Gets The Glory.

Birthplace

Born:
6/17/1931
Birth Location:
Vicksburg
See how Doris Topsy-Elvord is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Doris Topsy-Elvord was born on June 17, 1931, in Vicksburg, Mississippi. In 1942, her family moved to Long Beach, California, where she has remained most of her life. After graduating from St. Anthony High School in 1949, she initially pursued a degree in chemistry, majoring in the subject at the University of California, Los Angeles. However, she soon realized her life's work would be better spent in the public service sector.

Topsy-Elvord began her career in public service by working as a California Youth Authority counselor, followed by positions in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the city of Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine. For nineteen years, she worked for the Los Angeles Probation Department as a deputy probation officer. Topsy-Elvord earned her B.A. in social welfare from California State University, Long Beach, in 1969 and her M.A. in criminal justice administration from Chapman College in 1981. She retired in 1988 after thirty-five years of service to her community.

Topsy-Elvord became a member of the city of Long Beach Civil Service Commission and served one term as president. She also served as vice president of the Long Beach Unified School District Personnel Commission and commissioner of the First Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from November 1987 until November 1989. In 1992, she became the first African American female elected to the Long Beach City Council. Topsy-Elvord holds the honor of being twice unanimously selected as vice mayor of Long Beach, in 1996 and 1998. She is the co-founder of the African American Heritage Society, an organization that raises money for educational materials on African Americans and cultural artifacts.

Topsy-Elvord has served on numerous boards and is a member of various organizations and societies. She has received many honors and awards for her lifetime of service to the Long Beach community, including being named 1994's Woman of the Year by California State Senator Ralph Dills.

Topsy-Elvord is married and has three sons, five granddaughters, one grandson and one great-grandchild.

See how Doris Topsy-Elvord is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Doris Topsy-Elvord's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Doris Topsy-Elvord lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes her family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about her and her mother's surnames
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Doris Topsy-Elvord shares the story of how she moved to Long Beach, California to live with her mother, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Doris Topsy-Elvord shares the story of how she moved to Long Beach, California to live with her mother, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes her father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes her relationship with her father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about her half-brother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes her experiences in Catholic School
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes the first time she heard the word "nigger"
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes why she perceives the word "nigger" the way she does
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes the close-knit nature of the black community in Long Beach, California during her youth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes her interests, activities, and personality as a youth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes her mother's personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes her experiences attending St. Anthony High School in Long Beach, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about HistoryMaker John Stroger, Jr.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about dropping out the University of California, Los Angeles
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes how a U.S. Congressman stole her award-winning speech
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about attending the University of California, Los Angeles and returning to college as an adult
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes her experiences working for the California Youth Authority
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes her experiences working as a procurement officer for Sybil Brand Women's Prison
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes how she was hired as a deputy probation officer for the Los Angeles Probation Department
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes her experiences working as a deputy probation officer for the Los Angeles Probation Department, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes her experiences working as a deputy probation officer for the Los Angeles Probation Department, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Doris Topsy-Elvord comments on the prison system as an industry
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about educated black male prisoners
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about Crips founder Stanley "Tookie" Williams
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes her experiences working with sex offenders
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about questioning the teachings of Catholicism
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Doris Topsy-Elvord comments on pedophilia in the Catholic Church
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about Catholic nuns
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks being appointed to the Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks Father George Stallings, HistoryMaker Father George Clements, and the "once a priest, always a priest" philosophy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about Long Beach Polytechnic High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about HistoryMakers Dale Clinton and Ernest McBride, Sr., and Mary Dell Butler
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about HistoryMaker Ernest McBride, Sr.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about Zelma Lipscomb
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Doris Topsy-Elvord shares a story about HistoryMaker Ernest McBride, Sr., challenging his son to a baseball game
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes how she became involved in politics
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes running for Long Beach City Council in 1992, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes running for Long Beach City Council in 1992, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes why she appealed to various cultures as a candidate for Long Beach City Council
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes how she diversified the Long Beach Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade as a City Councilwoman
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about her civic involvement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes her experiences serving as a Councilwoman for the City of Long Beach
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about the culture and economy of Long Beach, California
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about the Queen Mary ocean liner
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about the close-knit nature of Long Beach, California
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes her role as Vice Mayor of The City of Long Beach
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Doris Topsy-Elvord compares the roles of a Mayor and a Vice Mayor
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about Beverly O'Neill, Mayor of The City of Long Beach
  • Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Doris Topsy-Elvord shares her hopes and concerns for the black community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Doris Topsy-Elvord reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about her travels
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes her experiences traveling in Europe in 1971
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about attending the Pan African Asian Conference in Egypt in 1990
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about the Australian Aborigines
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes Nelson Mandela's house
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes her experiences visiting South Africa, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Doris Topsy-Elvord describes her experiences visiting South Africa, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about her mother's pride in her accomplishments
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Doris Topsy-Elvord talks about how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Doris Topsy-Elvord narrates her photographs