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HomeDaily Dose of HistoryDAILY DOSE OF HISTORY: John Mack - Activist

DAILY DOSE OF HISTORY: John Mack – Activist

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John Wesley Mack was born on January 6, 1937, in Kingstree, South Carolina. His father, Abram Mack was a Methodist minister, and his mother, Ruth Wynita, was a schoolteacher. Not too long after young John’s birth, the Mack family moved to Darlington, South Carolina.


Upon graduating from high school, Mack attended North Carolina A&T State University. There, he was the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) student chapter. He graduated with his Bachelor’s degree in 1958. He went on to earn his Master’s degree from Clark Atlanta University.

Urban League

Mack moved to Oxnard, California shortly after graduating. He worked at the Camarillo State Mental Hospital in the early 1960s. Near the mid-1960s, Mack and his family moved to Flint, Michigan where he worked as the executive director of the Flint Urban League from 1964 to 1969. His primary focuses were voter registration and fair housing issues.

Los Angeles

Mack then moved to Los Angeles, California. It was there that he founded the Los Angeles Black Leadership Coalition on Education in 1977. He also served as the vice president of the United Way Corporation of Council Executives and as the president of the Los Angeles Urban League–the latter being a position that he held from 1969 to 2005.

John Mack, Urban League, Black History, Black History 365, DDH: Daily Dose of History


After the 1992 Los Angeles Riots–which erupted after the four officers who beat Rodney King were acquitted–Mack showed then-President George H. W. Bush around South Central Los Angeles. He and then-Mayor Tom Bradley received criticism from the younger generation who stated that they were too removed from everyday Black life. Mack ignored the criticism.


Mack helped to rebuild Los Angeles. He specifically focused on rebuilding Crenshaw, now a major artery of South Los Angeles. He then became the president of the board of police commissioners of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). He also worked with the Los Angeles City Planning Commission.


Fighting for the Black community until the end, Mack recently nominated Michel Moore as the chief of the LAPD. Mack hoped that Moore would be able to “eradicate racism and brutality within the LAPD.” John Mack lost his battle with cancer on June 21, 2018. He died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California at the age of 81.   John Mack, Urban League, Black History, Black History 365, DDH: Daily Dose of History  
**The views and actions of the DDH historical figures that are featured may not reflect the views and beliefs of Ramiro The Writer or We Buy Black. Thank you.**
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