This Day in Black History: Dec. 31, 1953

Hulan Jack is sworn in as president of the Manhattan Borough.

Posted: 12/28/2012 02:55 PM EST
Hulan E. Jack

(Phot: Wikicommons)

Only in America can an immigrant who dropped out of high school rise to a political position of authority in one of the nation's most powerful cities. But that is the story of Hulan Jack, who on Dec. 31, 1953, was sworn in as president of New York's Manhattan borough and became the first Black to serve in the position.

Jack, who was born in St. Lucia, went to work at the Peerless Paper Box Company as a janitor after leaving school. He rose up the ranks and became a vice president.

Jack also became an active Democratic political operative, and was elected to seven terms in the New York Assembly, representing Harlem, and two terms as Manhattan Borough president. He was unfortunately forced to resign after being convicted of bribery and conspiracy to obstruct justice charges in 1960.

He later was re-elected to his old Assembly seat but in 1970 was sentenced to three months in prison and fined $5,000 for trying to extort money from Harlem business owners.

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