A native of Cincinnati's West End, Representative William
L. Mallory was born in 1931. The son of a casual laborer and
a domestic, his desire to be successful and his interest in
politics propelled him to the Ohio House of Representatives
and to years of service to the community.
His interest in politics began at an early age. When only
12 years old, he was reading newspapers incessantly, particularly
the editorial pages. This interest was stimulated by political
discussions with Dr. R. P. McClain, the second black city
councilman in Cincinnati history. William Mallory's first
elected positions were as secretary of student government
in high school and as president of the Ninth Street Hi Y Club
of the YMCA.
Mallory Photograph Collection Cincinnati History Library and Archives Cincinnati Museum Center
Mallory attended Bloom Junior High School from 1944 to 1947. In addition
to politics, he enjoyed sports, including softball and track, and
held the record at Bloom for the broad jump. Mallory also loved to
jitterbug to the music of Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie, Duke Ellington,
Glenn Miller and Woody Herman. As a young man, he worked at a variety
of jobs, such as selling newspapers in front of City Hall and unloading
freight cars. He was also a bus boy, a junkman, an iceman, a camp
councilor, a porter and a bowling alley attendant.
Despite being a high school drop out, Mallory later graduated from
East Vocational High School and entered Central State University in
1951. He worked his way through college by painting dormitories and
working in the cafeteria, and graduated with honors with a major in
elementary education. While in college he met his wife, Fannie. They
married in 1955 and have six children, all successful in the community.
William Mallory, Jr. is an Appeals District Court judge for the 1st District. Mark
Mallory is Mayor of the City of Cincinnati,
while Joe Mallory is an elections administrator at the Hamilton
County Board of Elections. Dwane Mallory is a Municipal Court judge in Hamilton County,
and Dale Mallory serves in the Ohio General Assembly representing the 32nd Ohio House District.
Leslie Denise Mallory is a sales representative for the Ohio Lottery.
Following his graduation from Central State, William Mallory worked
as a unit leader for the juvenile court, as a case worker for the
Hamilton County Welfare Department and as a highway inspector. He
also taught elementary school for eight years in the Cincinnati Public
Schools. Underlying all his activities, however, was his continued
interest in politics and the community, and in 1965, he was elected
president of the West End Community Council.
In 1966, William Mallory was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives,
the beginning of a 28 year career in the Ohio legislature. Eight years
later, he was elected Majority Floor Leader, the first African-American
to hold that position. He retired in 1994 holding the record of being
the longest serving majority leader in Ohio's history and the longest
serving Ohio representative from Hamilton County.
During his service in the General Assembly, William L. Mallory sponsored
or co-sponsored over 600 pieces of legislation. Highlights include
legislation creating the first state-wide drug prevention program,
the Urban Minority Alcohol Drug Outreach Program. His legislation
also helped to finance the Riverfront Stadium and Fountain Square
South in Cincinnati and created the home furlough program for non-violent
prisoners upon their release from prison.
Page 1 of
the Mallory Reports, July 1987
William L. Mallory, Sr. Papers, 1950-1998, Mss 993, Box 2, Folder
12 Cincinnati History Library and Archives, Cincinnati Museum Center
In 1986, Mallory filed a lawsuit charging discrimination in the election
of judges on a countywide basis. As a result, 14 judicial districts
were established, making it easier for African-American candidates
to win seats in the Hamilton County Municipal Court.
In Cincinnati, Mallory played a major role in the creation of a publicly
owned transit system, now known as Metro, by serving as co-chairman
of the Citizen's Transportation Committee. Later during a 36 day bus
strike, he and his wife organized a carpool to transport workers and
students in the West End to their jobs and schools throughout the
city. He also worked to create the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission
which replaced the Mayor's Friendly Relations Committee. William Mallory
was influential in locating the Queen City Vocational School in the
West End and for creating the first community housing development
corporation which built Uptown Towers.
On the national level, Representative Mallory was appointed to the
National Highway Safety Advisory Committee by President Carter and
to the Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee by President Clinton.
Mallory won many awards for his support of education, senior citizens,
public transportation, mental health, and American Civil Liberties
issues. A few of William Mallory's awards include the City Manager's
award for his contributions to the City of Cincinnati, the National
Conference of State Legislatures Award for Leadership, and the Martin
Luther King Dream Keeper award. His alma mater, Central State University,
awarded him an honorary doctorate of laws in 1972, the first one given
to an alumnus. The university has also inducted him into its hall
of fame and has named a street in his honor.
In addition, William Mallory's accomplishments include serving as
chairman of the House Select Committee on Technology and as vice-chairman
of the House Select Committee on Health Care Reform. He has been co-chairman
of the Hamilton County Democratic Party and president of the Black
Elected Democrats of Ohio. Continuing his strong interest in education,
Mallory taught as an adjunct professor of Political Science and African
American Studies at the University of Cincinnati from 1969 to 1994.
At the same time, life as a prominent African American has not been
easy. Mallory and his family have been the recipients of three death
Since his retirement, Mallory has been engaged in numerous causes.
He founded the Mallory Center for Community Development, a non-profit
agency in Cincinnati, as well as the African American Historical Ball,
an annual event honoring great African Americans. In 2003, Mallory
was chosen in a survey by WCIN as one of the 50 most influential African
Americans in the last fifty years, and he received an award from the
Department of Aging honoring his work establishing the Commission
on Aging. Mallory was also appointed by Ohio Governor Bob Taft to
the Ohio Elections Commission, for a five-year term beginning March
2003. In 2008, Mallory was honored by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber as a Great Living Cincinnatian, and in 2009 he received the Triumph Award from the Emanuel Community Center. The Mallory family was honored by the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky in 2010. William Mallory died on December 10, 2013 at the age of 82.
On July 16, 2010, Scott Gampfer, Director of the Cincinnati History Library and History Collections, interviewed William L. Mallory Sr. at Cincinnati Museum Center as part of the StoryCorps project. (Video length: 29 minutes)
To learn more about William Mallory, consult the following
William L. Mallory, Sr. Papers, 1950-2003
The collection reflects Mallory's legislative career as well as
other interests and activities. It includes correspondence, speeches,
newspaper clippings, press releases, campaign materials, legislation,
committee minutes, certificates, programs and other materials. Topics
include colleges and universities, day care, education, housing,
minority business and reapportionment of legislative districts.
For More information, a detailed register for this collection is
available in the library. Display Finding Aid (PDF)Request slip
Sources Used for Biographical Sketch:
William L. Mallory, Sr. Papers, 1950-2003,
Mss 993, Cincinnati History Library and Archives, Cincinnati Museum