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Sat, 12.29.1906

Hulan Jack, Politician born

Hulan Jack

*Hulan Jack was born on this date in 1906. He was a Black politician.

Hulan Edwin Jack was born in St. Lucia, the Windwards, the son of a Protestant clergyman who later became a Bishop of the African Orthodox Church in Barbados.  He was brought to New York in 1923, with a grammar school education and experience as a printer.  A paper-box manufacturer who prodded him until he enrolled in night school gave him a job as a janitor. From there, he went to New York University to study business administration. Impatient with the airy discussions of political science majors in a fraternity house, Jack decided to get into hands-on politics. He also became vice president of the Peerless Box Company on Wooster Street, a job he held for many years. 'Relegated to the Basement.'

His talent for public speaking, honed in college, served him well as his rising star in the Democratic Party organization propelled him toward the Legislature.  Nor did he forget that Blacks, in his younger days, were ''relegated to the basement'' of his district Democratic club, as he once said to an interviewer. He advanced by applying himself by following party rules and being amiable. Normally a deliberate speaker, he could turn thunderous on the stump, proclaiming party loyalty and fervently denouncing those of other political persuasions.  His widening influence in the Manhattan Democratic organization earned him election to the State Assembly in 1940. Halfway into his seventh term, in 1953, he resigned after being elected to the borough presidency, to which he was re-elected for a second four-year term in 1957.

Over the years, Jack established a record as the untiring author of legislation for human rights and against racial discrimination of any type. Though his bills usually fell by the wayside, he remained convinced that he was not wrong but merely ahead of his time.  He was a life-long Democrat, and member of New York state assembly, 1941-53, 1968-72 (New York County 17th District 1941-44, New York County 14th District 1945-53, 79th District 1968-72); borough president of Manhattan, New York, 1954-61; delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York in 1956. He was a member of the Elks and Phi Beta Sigma.

Hulan E. Jack, the Harlem politician who in 1953 became the first Black Borough President of Manhattan but lost office after a conflict-of-interest scandal, died Friday night at St. Luke's Hospital. Mr. Jack, who would have been 80 years old on Dec. 29, was a 45-year resident of West 110th Street.

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