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John W. Mack

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Information about John W. Mack

Profile image of John W. Mack

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Civic Leader
Nonprofit Chief Executive
City Government Appointee

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Earth Tones
Favorite Food:
Soul Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Palm Desert, California, Maui, Hawaii, Aruba
Favorite Quote:
Marathon Runner For Justice And Equality.

Birthplace

Born:
1/6/1937
Birth Location:
Kingstree, South Carolina

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Civic Leader
Nonprofit Chief Executive
City Government Appointee

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Earth Tones
Favorite Food:
Soul Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Palm Desert, California, Maui, Hawaii, Aruba
Favorite Quote:
Marathon Runner For Justice And Equality.

Birthplace

Born:
1/6/1937
Birth Location:
Kingstree
See how John W. Mack is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Civic leader John Wesley Mack was born on January 6, 1937, in Kingstree, South Carolina, to Abram Mack, a Methodist minister, and Ruth Wynita, a school teacher. Shortly after he was born, Mack’s family moved to Darlington, South Carolina. Mack attended North Carolina A&T State University, where he earned his B.S. degree in applied sociology in 1958. As a student, Mack was the head of the college’s NAACP student chapter. The following year, Mack was married to Harriett Johnson, an elementary school teacher he met through his college roommate; the couple went on to have three children together.

In 1960, Mack co-founded and became vice-chairman of the Commission on Appeal for Human Rights, an organization that incorporated members of Atlanta University, Morehouse, and Spelman Colleges, including such noted figures as Marion Wright Edelman, Julian Bond, and Reverend Otis Marsh. That same year, the students held sit-ins at Rich’s Department Store. During this time, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested. 1960 was also the year that Mack obtained his M.A. degree in social work from Clark Atlanta University.

Shortly afterward, Mack and his family moved to Oxnard, California, as part of a social work fellowship established for him at Camarillo Hospital by his mentor Whitney Young. In 1964, upon completing his work at the Camarillo Hospital, Mack moved to Flint, Michigan, where a year later he became Executive Director of the Flint Urban League. It was in Flint that Mack focused on fair housing and voter registration issues.

In 1969, Mack became President of the Los Angeles Urban League, where he would serve until his retirement in 2005; the longest tenure of anyone in this position. With Mack as president, the Los Angeles Urban League became one of the country’s most successful non-profit organizations, generating an annual budget of $25 million while promoting issues of employment, education and economic development.

In 1977, Mack became co-founder and co-chair of the Los Angeles Black Leadership Coalition on Education, and in the early 1980s, he was appointed vice president of the United Way Corporation of Council Executives. In the late 1990s, Mack served as a Fellow in Residence at Harvard University, where he led a study group entitled “The Future of Urban America: Finding Solutions Through Strategic Partnership and Policy Advocacy.” In 2005, Mack was appointed President of the Board of Police Commissioners of the Los Angeles Police Department by Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa; he held this position for two consecutive years before being elected to the office of Vice President in 2007. Over the years Mack has been awarded by numerous different institutions, including Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Black Women of Achievement, Operation Hope, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the California Afro American Museum.

Mack passed away on June 21, 2018.

See how John W. Mack is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John W. Mack's interview, session 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John W. Mack lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John W. Mack describes his parents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John W. Mack remembers his mother's siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John W. Mack describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John W. Mack talks about his father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John W. Mack lists his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John W. Mack describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - John W. Mack talks about his early years in Darlington, South Carolina
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - John W. Mack remembers his teachers in Darlington, South Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John W. Mack describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John W. Mack recalls racism in Darlington, South Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John W. Mack describes the Buddy Johnson concerts in Darlington, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John W. Mack recalls his decision to pursue a college education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John W. Mack remembers dentist and social activist William Gibson
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John W. Mack recalls attending the Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina in Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John W. Mack describes his civil rights work at the Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - John W. Mack recalls the alumni of the Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - John W. Mack remembers meeting Whitney Young
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John W. Mack remembers his father's death
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John W. Mack remembers his first exposure to Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John W. Mack talks about his mentor, Whitney Young
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John W. Mack describes civil rights leaders in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John W. Mack talks about the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John W. Mack remembers Atlanta newspapers' coverage of the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John W. Mack describes protests organized by the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John W. Mack remembers the importance of nonviolent resistance
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John W. Mack remembers meeting his wife
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John W. Mack recalls marrying his wife
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John W. Mack remembers protesting Rich's Department Store in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John W. Mack describes reactions to the protest at Rich's Department Store
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John W. Mack remembers a three-pronged protest, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - John W. Mack remembers a three-pronged protest, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - John W. Mack recalls a white student's involvement in the Atlanta Student Movement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - John W. Mack recalls a trip to Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - John W. Mack recalls a meeting at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - John W. Mack remembers the national media coverage of the Atlanta Student Movement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - John W. Mack describes the role of the NAACP in the Atlanta Student Movement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - John W. Mack recalls the role of Atlanta churches in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - John W. Mack talks about CORE's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - John W. Mack recalls moving to California
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - John W. Mack remembers addressing the 1960 Democratic National Convention platform committee, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - John W. Mack remembers addressing the Democratic Convention platform committee, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - John W. Mack reflects upon leaving Atlanta, Georgia in the 1960s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of John W. Mack's interview, session 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - John W. Mack describes his experiences in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - John W. Mack talks about the mission of the National Urban League
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - John W. Mack talks about the role of the Big Six in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - John W. Mack remembers joining the Urban League of Flint in Flint, Michigan
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - John W. Mack recalls attending the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - John W. Mack remembers the reaction of Flint, Michigan to Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - John W. Mack talks about his Los Angeles Urban League predecessors
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - John W. Mack recalls his efforts to desegregate schools in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - John W. Mack describes his conflicts with the Los Angeles Police Department in California
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - John W. Mack remembers the Los Angeles civic organizations' response to the Rodney King incident
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - John W. Mack describes protocol changes for the appointment of the Los Angeles police chief
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - John W. Mack talks about community policing in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - John W. Mack describes issues within the Los Angeles Police Department
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - John W. Mack remembers leading the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - John W. Mack reflects upon institutional change at the LAPD
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - John W. Mack remembers Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard Parks, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - John W. Mack remembers Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard Parks, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - John W. Mack reflects upon the Rampart scandal in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - John W. Mack describes his philosophy of activism
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - John W. Mack remembers his work with the Los Angeles Urban League
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - John W. Mack recalls the first Whitney M. Young, Jr. Awards Dinner in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - John W. Mack remembers Whitney Young
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - John W. Mack talks about the legacy of Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - John W. Mack remembers his conflicts with Daryl Gates, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - John W. Mack remembers his conflicts with Daryl Gates, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - John W. Mack recalls an assassination threat from skinheads
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - John W. Mack reflects upon his tenure as police commissioner in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - John W. Mack remembers the O.J. Simpson trial, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - John W. Mack remembers the O.J. Simpson trial, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - John W. Mack describes Johnnie Cochran
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - John W. Mack recalls advice about William Bratton
  • Tape: 9 Story: 9 - John W. Mack describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - John W. Mack reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - John W. Mack reflects upon his career
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - John W. Mack talks about his mentorship in the National Urban League
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - John W. Mack describes his family
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - John W. Mack describes how he would like to be remembered