top of page

Rowland Hawes &

Peter Lippman

Roland “Rollie” Hawes, a retired Caucasian scientist and graduate of Caltech must have moved to Monrovia with his wife, Edna, in the late 50s and Jules Sandford probably sold them
their house on Oakglade Drive. Younger and
Jewish, Peter Lippman was also a Caltech graduate who moved to Monrovia about the same time and married one of the Danchik girls. We liked both couples but found the Hawes especially intelligent and witty and shared, with them, an interest in food, wine and social concerns. We

soon learned that Rollie was a strong activist when he formed The Alliance for a Better Community (ABC) to fight a turndown of funding for the schools and the election of three John Birch Society representatives to the Monrovia School Board. My husband Jules and I, the Maruggs, Bill Brooks, Rollie's friend, and fellow Caltech graduate, Pete Lippman and many Monrovians of both political parties quickly joined him. I became the ABC Newsletter editor and - with the cooperation of the newly appointed Superintendent of Schools and much of the staff and faculty - ABC recruited an increasing number of Monrovians to School Board meetings (we eventually reached 500). We made our feelings known at Board Meetings and eventually attempted a recall of board members known to be John Birchers. I was outvoted in opposing the recall and, although I participated in the campaign, I was not surprised when it didn't succeed. Voters happily signed the recall petitions but found themselves unable to actually vote people out of office. In any case, the majority threesome eventually succumbed to our attendance at Board Meetings and retired. We replaced the Birchers with three more moderate Board members and achieved sufficient funding for our schools. Although ABC was not overtly a human relations or integration-oriented organization, the makeup of our leadership was, and ABC achievements allowed school integration to move forward. The group’s next move was to integrate our City Council. The leaders of ABC agreed that, under its current "Old Boys" leadership, the City of Monrovia was going downhill. Both Monrovia's reputation and its appearance were making it the laughing stock of the San Gabriel Valley. Our plan was to create a slate of three - a Black person, a woman and a youth -- each with his/her
own strong constituency, and to support our best public relations person, Pete Lippman, in his all -out campaign
to elect them. We did, and Bob Bartlett, Pat Ostrye and Eric Faith were elected to the Council. Monrovia was changed forever.
Thanks, in part, goes to the leadership and vision of two comparative newcomers to our community—Roland Hawes and Peter Lippman. Although the Maruggs, the Sandfords, Bill Brooks and other Monrovians bore much of the responsibility
for moving Monrovia forward, it was Rollie Hawes and Peter Lippman who showed up in our community at the right time, and pulled us together in the Alliance for a Better Community.

bottom of page