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Taylor Will Succeed Mack as Head of L.A. Urban League

October 14, 2005|Eric Malnic | Times Staff Writer

Blair Taylor, executive vice president of College Summit, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that helps low-income high school students get into college, will succeed John W. Mack as president and chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Urban League, the league announced Thursday.

The appointment was hailed by Assemblyman Mark Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles), for whom Taylor served as a senior staff member when Ridley-Thomas was a member of the Los Angeles City Council.

"Blair Taylor has the vision for this work and a commitment to community advancement," Ridley-Thomas said.

"He will bring a crucial insight to the position at this very important time for our community," he said. "His knowledge of public safety and economic development issues ... his record as a coalition builder and his association with progressive causes should serve the league well."

Taylor, a graduate of Amherst College in Massachusetts and the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, was an executive with IBM and PepsiCo, where he directed sales and marketing to colleges and secondary schools. His achievements in the business world won him recognition as California's Blue Chip Entrepreneur of the Year in 1999.

Founded in 1921, the Los Angeles Urban League works to secure equal opportunity for African Americans and other minorities through job training, job placement and business development programs. It is an affiliate of the National Urban League, one of the country's oldest and most influential civil rights organizations. The league has offices in 105 cities around the country.

Mack, who was appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to the Los Angeles Police Commission on Aug. 17, was named commission president a few days later.

He had served as head of the Los Angeles Urban League for 36 years before stepping down in June.

An early leader of the student civil rights movement in Georgia, Mack worked with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other top civil rights leaders. He spent four years as a psychiatric social worker at Camarillo State Hospital before getting a job on the league's national staff in 1964.

Five years later, he was named head of the Los Angeles Urban League.

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