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Mahlon T. Puryear

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Information about Mahlon T. Puryear

Profile image of Mahlon T. Puryear

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Nonprofit Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Sweet Potatoes
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hong Kong
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
1/27/1915
Birth Location:
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Nonprofit Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Sweet Potatoes
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hong Kong
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
1/27/1915
Birth Location:
Winston-Salem
See how Mahlon T. Puryear is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Former deputy director of the National Urban League, Mahlon Puryear was born January 27, 1915, in Winston Salem, North Carolina. One of six children of a contractor, Puryear attended Columbian Heights High School, graduating in 1930 at age fourteen. He also received a diploma from Hampton Institute in 1936 and a B.S. in 1942 before earning a master’s from Columbia University Teachers College in 1948. He later studied at Colorado College in Greely, Colorado.

From 1936 to 1940, he was part owner with his father of Puryear and Sons Builders before teaching at Hampton Institute and Delaware State for three years. From 1943 to 1945 Puryear worked as personnel counselor for Wright Aero Company in New Jersey, when he left to work for the American Red Cross in Maryland and Okinawa. Puryear then went on to serve as a dean at Arkansas A.M.& N College from 1947 until 1951. That year, the National Urban League hired him, and he went on to hold twenty-five different titles including Director of the Southern Field Division. In 1957, Puryear left to direct Tuskegee Institute’s Technical Education Program in Indonesia. Returning to the Urban League after a year, Puryear was transferred to New York in 1962. By 1972, he was Director of the Economic Development Department with a staff of seventy-five persons and a budget of more than $30 million dollars. He opened new affiliates in Charlotte, North Carolina, and in Orange County California in 1982 and 1983, respectively. Primarily focused on education, Puryear worked along side Whitney M. Young and Vernon Jordan to bring opportunities to African American youth.

Retiring after fifty-three years of service, Puryear lives in Baltimore where he enjoys visits from his two daughters and grandchildren.

Puryear was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 15, 2003.

Mr. Puryear passed away on September 26, 2007.

See how Mahlon T. Puryear is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Mahlon T. Puryear's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Mahlon T. Puryear describes the origin of his first name
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about his birth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about the importance of a college education in his family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about the origin of his last name
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about his mother's parents working for the Hanes family of Hanesbrands Inc.
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Mahlon T. Puryear describes his parents' education and his family life
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Mahlon T. Puryear states his birthdate and talks about his career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Mahlon T. Puryear finishes slating his interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Mahlon T. Puryear lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about his mother's family background
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about the older members of his mother's family
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about his father's family background
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Mahlon T. Puryear describes his father's activities and registering to vote
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about how his parents met, his siblings, and the family business
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Mahlon T. Puryear describes riding in the drawing room of a Pullman train car and being punished for lying about it
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about his childhood home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and his father's painting business
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about attending Depot Street School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about everyday life growing up in the Puryear household
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Mahlon T. Puryear describes his family's eating habits
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Mahlon T. Puryear describes attending Columbia Heights High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Mahlon T. Puryear describes the history of Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about attending Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Mahlon T. Puryear describes working for the family business, Royal Puryear and Sons
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Mahlon T. Puryear remembers the first time he danced
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Mahlon T. Puryear describes meeting his wife and her education background
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Mahlon T. Puryear describes avoiding the draft for World War Two
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about working for the American Red Cross during World War II
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about the Tuskegee Institute's Technical Education Program in Indonesia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Mahlon T. Puryear describes meeting Julius A. Thomas and working with the Urban League
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about his role as deputy executive director for the National Urban League in New York, New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about the function of the Urban League and its branches
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about the Urban League's mission to open jobs to African Americans
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about the strategy of the Urban League
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Mahlon T. Puryear explains how each Urban League branch is different
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about the importance of breaking down racial barriers, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about the importance of breaking down racial barriers, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Mahlon T. Puryear talks about the importance of schools preparing students for future employment
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Mahlon T. Puryear considers what he would have done differently in his life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Mahlon T. Puryear describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Mahlon T. Puryear narrates his photographs