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John Bynoe

John Garvey Bynoe, born in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 25, 1926, had a distinguished career in the federal government and as a civic and community leader that spanned more than three decades. His parents, Edna V. Bynoe and John Leo Bynoe, immigrated from Barbados, in the British West Indies, in the mid-1890s. Growing up in Boston, Bynoe attended public schools, and after high school, he attended Boston University and the New England School of Law, where he received a bachelor’s of law degree in 1957.

As a veteran of World War II, Bynoe was one of the youngest veterans to lead a Veterans of Foreign War Post when he was elected commander of Post 953 in Boston in 1947. He also served as chairman of the Veterans Committee of the Boston Branch of the NAACP. Following his military service, Bynoe became an employee of the federal government in 1948, starting as a supply clerk in the regional office of the Federal Security Agency in Boston, which later became the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW).

In the early 1950s, Bynoe became a claims representative in the Social Security Administration district office in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He remained in that post until 1954, when he was promoted from the position of field representative to assistant district manager in Salem. The following year, he became manager of the Social Security Administration district office in Norwood, Massachusetts. In July of 1966, Bynoe returned to the HEW regional office and assumed the position of program coordinator for civil rights on the staff of the HEW regional director. The following year, the Regional Office for Civil Rights was established, and Bynoe was named director, a position he held until his retirement in 1982. Under his tenure, the largest number of Blacks, Asians and Hispanics ever to enter federal service in New England did so with his guidance and training.

Throughout his career, Bynoe was active in many social and civic organizations. He was a founder and director of Boston’s first Black-owned bank, Unity Bank and Trust. He also served on the board of directors for the Boston branch of the NAACP, the Boston Legal Aid Society, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists and the Massachusetts Pre-Engineering program. Between 1979 and 1982, Bynoe also served as the chairman of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts.

Between 1969 and 1989, Bynoe owned and operated the Professional and Business Men’s Club. The P&B Club served as a vital community site for community meetings, forums and social and professional networking for Boston’s black men and women of all classes and backgrounds. Bynoe and his wife, Louise, had two children, James and Jonathan. He had a son, John, Jr., and a daughter, Sandra, from a previous marriage.

Bynoe passed away on August 13, 2009 at age 82.

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Lafayette Elementary School

Sherwin School

English High School

Boston University

Portian Law School

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Civil rights activist and city government official John Bynoe (1926 - 2009 ) coordinated the civil rights program at U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and served as director of the Boston-area Regional Office of Civil Rights.


United States Army

Federal Security Agency

Social Security Administration

United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare

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Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John Bynoe interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John Bynoe names his occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John Bynoe's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John Bynoe describes his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John Bynoe remembers his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John Bynoe discusses his parents' immigration to Canada and the U.S.

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John Bynoe names his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John Bynoe describes his father's occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - John Bynoe recalls his childhood home, Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - John Bynoe describes his family's connectedness to Barbados

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - John Bynoe discusses his school years

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - John Bynoe discusses his early career aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - John Bynoe discusses his high school activities

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - John Bynoe describes his involvement in the church as a youth

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - John Bynoe describes his family's association with Marcus Garvey

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - John Bynoe remembers his older brother

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John Bynoe describes his employment after high school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John Bynoe recalls his law school years

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John Bynoe describes his career trajectory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John Bynoe describes his community involvement

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John Bynoe discusses his involvement in electoral politics

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John Bynoe describes his affiliation with the Professional Businessmen's Club, Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John Bynoe discusses his career with the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John Bynoe details his involvement with the Urban League

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John Bynoe discusses his involvement with the Prince Hall Masonic Lodge

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John Bynoe describes an organized effort to end segregation in Boston, Massachusetts schools

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John Bynoe describes his efforts toward the preservation of historical sites

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John Bynoe reflects on his life

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John Bynoe predicts racial unity

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John Bynoe evaluates the state of black youth

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John Bynoe considers highlights in his life

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - John Bynoe considers his legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Photo - John Bynoe as a baby, ca. 1927

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Photo - John Bynoe in the St. Cyprian's Church drum and bugle corps, Boston, Massachusetts, 1938

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Photo - John Bynoe's mother, age ninety-four, ca. 1990s

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Photo - John Bynoe on the Fort Devens football team, Ayer, Massachusetts, 1947

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Photo - John Bynoe in the U.S. military, Goettingen, Germany, ca. 1945

Tape: 3 Story: 15 - Photo - John Bynoe, ca. 1958

Tape: 3 Story: 16 - Photo - John Bynoe graduates from Portia Law School, Boston, Massachusetts, early 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 17 - Photo - John Bynoe is appointed as District Manager of the Social Security Administration District Office, Norwood, Massachusetts, 1965

Tape: 3 Story: 18 - Photo - John Bynoe and others at the NAACP Convention in Boston, Massachusetts, 1967

Tape: 3 Story: 19 - Photo - Button from John Bynoe's campaign for a seat in the Massachusetts State Senate

Tape: 3 Story: 20 - Photo - John Bynoe serves as Grand Master of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, late 1990s

Tape: 3 Story: 21 - Photo - John Bynoe with John Maddox of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 22 - Photo - Chairman John Bynoe with other participants of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge conference, Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 23 - Photo - John Bynoe with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Wilks at a forum event, Boston, Massachusetts, ca. 1956

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Photo - John Bynoe with relatives in Canada

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Photo - John Bynoe's relatives visiting his mother at a nursing home

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Photo - John Bynoe with his wife and sons at a birthday party, 2004

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Photo - John Bynoe's son and his family at a christening

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Photo - John Bynoe's eldest son with his family

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Photo - John Bynoe with his wife and sons at a birthday party, 2004

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Photo - John Bynoe's brother and other relatives celebrate their mother's birthday at a nursing home

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Photo - John Bynoe with Michael Dukakis during his campaign for president, Des Moines, Iowa, 1988

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Photo - John Bynoe's family members attend a Prince Hall Lodge event in his honor

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Photo - John Bynoe in Mashpee, Massachusetts, 2003