A native of Cincinnati’s West End, Representative William L. Mallory was born October 4, 1931. From humble beginnings, 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. By the time he was 12-years-old, he was constantly reading newspapers—particularly the editorial pages. This interest was fostered by political discussions with Dr. R. P. McClain, the second African-American city councilman in Cincinnati. William Mallory’s first elected positions were as secretary of student government in high school and president of the Ninth Street Hi Y Club of the YMCA.
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. He went on to graduate with honors with a major in elementary education. While in college he met his wife, Fannie and the pair married in 1955. They had six children, who grew to be respected community figures. William Mallory, Jr. is a Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas judge. Mark Mallory served as the 68th 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 served in the Ohio General Assembly representing the 32nd Ohio House District from 2007 to 2014. Leslie Denise Mallory is a sales representative for the Ohio Lottery.
Following his graduation from Central State, William Mallory, Sr. worked as a unit leader for Hamilton County Juvenile Court, a case worker for the Hamilton County Welfare Department, and also a highway inspector. He later taught elementary school for eight years in Cincinnati Public Schools. However, Mallory’s ongoing interest in politics and the community led him to become president of the West End Community Council in 1965.
In 1966, 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, becoming the first African-American to hold that position. He retired in 1994, holding the record for 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, Mallory sponsored and co-sponsored over 600 pieces of legislation. Highlights include legislation creating the Urban Minority Alcohol Drug Outreach Program—the first state-wide drug prevention program in Ohio. His legislation also helped finance the Riverfront Stadium and Fountain Square in Cincinnati, and created the home furlough program for non-violent prisoners upon their release from prison.
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 seats in the Hamilton County Municipal Court more accessible for African-American candidates.
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 in Cincinnati. 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. Mallory was influential in putting the Queen City Vocational School in the West End and for creating the neighborhood’s first community housing development corporation, which built Uptown Towers.
On a national level, William 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 advocacy for education, senior citizens, public transportation, mental health, and American Civil Liberties issues. His awards include the City Manager’s award for contributions to the City of Cincinnati, the National Conference of State Legislatures Award for Leadership, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. 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 also inducted him into its hall of fame and named a street in his honor.
Mallory’s accomplishments also 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.
Following his retirement, Mallory was 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, Sr. passed away on December 10, 2013 at the age of 82.