Miami Urban League's president celebrates 50 years
MIAMI (WSVN) -- The President and CEO of the Miami Urban League is celebrating a milestone with his successful organization.
For 50 years, Talmadge Willard Fair or T. Willard Fair, has been at the helm of the Miami Urban League.
At just 24 years old, he became the youngest president and CEO in the history of the community service organization. Fair, born in 1939, has used his sharp wit and fierce passion during demonstrations, making him something of a local legend. "I would get out of my car and say, 'What's the issue?' and if they told me an issue that I had already had a sign made up for, I'd get my sign and get in line," said Fair.
In 1963, with a staff of just three working alongside him, they tackled the fight to make life better for African-Americans in South Florida. "We got a contract from Dade County to do community mobilization in response to Urban Renewal in Overtown," said Fair.
Through the good and bad times, Fair has weathered the storm and continued making waves. In the 1960s, the first black stewardess hired at Eastern Airlines had help into the air from Fair.
Fair also helped recruit and place the first black employees at several businesses from FPL to department stores to the Florida Highway Patrol. He stepped up when former South African President Nelson Mandela, who visited South Florida in 1990 and made some controversial comments. "He made the statements and those were Nelson Mandela's statements and was not true," said Fair.
For all his good deeds, Fair has been compared by some to civil rights leader the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "Oh, no, no, no. No one can replace the King at all, and folks oughta stop doing that. [He's] a rare disciple at a moment in history that was necessary," said Fair.
A 50th year celebration is planned for Oct. 12.
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