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Taylor, O. C. W. (1891-1979) | Amistad Research Center

Name: Taylor, O. C. W. (1891-1979)
Fuller Form: Orlando Capitola Ward


Historical Note:

O. C. W. Taylor was an educator, radio personality, and freemason in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Orlando Capitola Ward Taylor was born in Huntsville, Texas in 1891, the son of Reverend David F. and Capitola H. Taylor. Orlando attended Texas College, 1908 and in 1913, received a Bachelor’s Degree of Liberal Arts from Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. That same year, Reverend David F. Taylor moved the family to New Orleans, Louisiana, to become rector at Saint Luke's Episcopal Church. After graduating, Taylor went on to do graduate work at Columbia University in New York and Xavier University in New Orleans before joining his family to begin work for the Orleans Parish School Board in 1915. In 1920, Taylor created the Colored School Athletic League and organized the league’s first annual track and field meet.

At the age of 33, Taylor partnered with C.C. Dejoie, Sr., to publish and become the first editor of The Louisiana Weekly, an African American newspaper published in New Orleans.  Also in 1925, Taylor published the Crescent City Pictorial; a 28-page souvenir booklet dedicated "to the Progress of the Colored Citizens of New Orleans, Louisiana, America's Most Interesting City." The Crescent City Pictorial was designed by O.T. Griffin and featured the photography of Villard Paddio. This largely visual publication featured images of African American homes, businesses, schools, churches, and social organizations, and serves as one of the best visual documents of African American life in early 20th century New Orleans.

By 1927, Taylor temporally left the newspaper business and returned to work in the New Orleans Public Schools. During the mid-1930’s Taylor began distributing and edited the New Orleans edition of the Pittsburg Courier. In addition to creating his own public relations firm, Publicity Unlimited, Taylor worked to promote the work of Louisiana Beauticians, the National Beauty Culturists League, the M.W. Prince Hall Grand Lodge, F. & A. M. of Louisiana, and the New Orleans chapter of the National Urban League, among others. During the Second World War, Taylor served as Chairman of the United States Treasury War Finance Committee, Louisiana Negro Division, together with Vice Chairman, A. P. Tureaud, and was credited with selling over 12 million dollars in war savings bonds in the state.

Following WWII, Taylor joined New Orleans radio station WNOE as a station announcer and producer of public affairs programming. Taylor also worked as a reporter for the Associated Negro Press. In 1957, Taylor retired from the Orleans Parish School Board after forty two years of service. Taylor was a member of the Original Illinois Club, Bunch Club, and attained the highest degree as a Prince Hall mason. In 1979, Taylor passed away and is buried in Mount Olive Cemetery in New Orleans.






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