James T. McLawhorn, Jr.

Mr. McLawhorn has been the president and chief executive officer of the Columbia Urban League since 1979. He is recognized nationally as a leader in race and community relations and has appeared in hundreds of articles, news, and public affairs programs addressing topics such as race and social policy. Currently, he is a featured blogger for The State newspaper, the largest newspaper in South Carolina, and a recipient of the National Urban League’s ‘Whitney M. Young, Jr. Race Relations Award.’ Mr. McLawhorn was a chief planner of the ‘King Day at the Dome,’ march and rally held on January 17, 2000. One of the largest civil rights demonstrations in the history of South Carolina, the march and rally drew more than 50,000 people to downtown Columbia to protest the flying of the Confederate flag atop the South Carolina State House. Also prompted under Mr. McLawhorn’s leadership, the League publishes The State of Black South Carolina: An Action Agenda for the Future. The State of Black South Carolina is a widely-respected annual report on the most pressing issues affecting the status of African Americans in South Carolina. In 1985, he founded the National Black Family Summit, a premier action forum on family issues with an emphasis on the African American community. He has received numerous awards for his outstanding leadership, including the prestigious Order of the Palmetto, the highest award given to a civilian in the state of South Carolina. Mr. McLawhorn is an active community servant who is involved with several national and local organizations. Among his volunteer activities include serving on the following Boards: the National Governors Association Public Policy Advisory Board on Transitioning Foster Care, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee for Minority Veterans, Keenan High School Improvement Council, and the South Carolina Medical Care Advisory Board. Additionally, Mr. McLawhorn is an eagle scout and a recent inductee into the South Carolina Black Hall of Fame. Mr. McLawhorn received his Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from North Carolina A&T State University, Master’s degree in Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Miami at Coral Gables. He is married to Barbara Campbell McLawhorn, and they are the proud parents of Karla (Eric) Hawkins, James III, and Mark and grandparents of Eric Hawkins, Jr. and Bryson James Hawkins. They are members of Saint John Baptist Church in Columbia, SC.