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Floyd C. Covington papers

 Collection
Identifier: 7057

Scope and Contents

The Floyd C. Covington papers document Covington's early life and education, his leadership of the Los Angeles Urban League during the 1930s and 1940s, the local advances in intergroup relations and equal opportunity initiatives that Covington directed at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, his strong relationships with both family and community, and his personal creativity in writing, music, and theater.

The parts of Covington's papers that relate to his work at the Los Angeles Urban League document important milestones for African American communities in Los Angeles. One of Covington's Urban League scrapbooks contains news clippings, photographs, and correspondence highlighting Covington's work at the Los Angeles Urban League -- with photographs demonstrating successful job placements for African Americans as Safeway clerks and managers, Pay'N Take Store employees, Helms Bakeries salesmen, Thrifty Drug Co. employees, manufacturers at Pacific Parachute Company aircraft plants, and others. This part of the collection also holds nine large Urban League posters that visualize racial inequalities in labor economics and job market opportunities -- as well as photographs documenting the "first transcontinental negro flight".

The series comprising records from Covington's employment at the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) contain a significant amount of correspondence between Covington and notable public figures, including former Governor of California, Earl Warren and former mayor of Los Angeles, Fletcher Bowron. The HUD portion of the collection also holds material relating to a series of Loyalty Board hearings, which investigated claims against Covington's potential communist influences "for the purpose of establishing [Covington's] suitability for employment in the Federal service."

Other highlights of Covington's papers include his family mementos--such as Alma Covington's photograph albums and travel diaries; materials illustrating Covington's artistic creations, such as his poetry, personal narratives, and his violin; published articles that Covington authored; and a large scrapbook documenting a testimonial banquet held in 1971 following Covington's retirement titled, "Four Decades of Service - Honoring Floyd C. Covington." The testimonial scrapbook is accompanied by various awards, tributes, and official resolutions honoring Covington's contributions.

Dates

  • 1901 - 1989
  • Majority of material found within 1930 - 1970

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Advance notice required for access.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Biographical / Historical

Floyd C. Covington (1901-1989) was a Black civic leader in Los Angeles from the late 1920s to the 1970s. Through his work as the first Executive Director of the Los Angeles Urban League and his service in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Covington redefined social welfare and equal opportunity in both employment and housing for various communities in Los Angeles.

Born Floyd James Cornelius Covington to Charles Covington and Lulu Jeltz Covington, Floyd was orphaned during his youth in Denver, Colorado and subsequently adopted by Reverend James Logan Craw and Lillian J. Brown. Covington attended Broadway High School in Seattle, Washington and then Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, receiving a bachelor's degree in Sociology and Economics in 1927. Covington then acquired his MA degree at the University of Pittsburgh and a Degree in Mundane and Arcane Sciences from the Rosicrucian University in San Jose, California. During the 1940s when Covington was working at the Los Angeles Urban League, he also began taking courses toward a PhD at the University of Southern California -- matriculating in USC's departments of Sociology and Economics.

Covington's employment history spans from 1928 to 1970:

  • 1928-1930: Industrial Relations Secretary, Los Angeles Urban League
  • 1930-1931: Membership Secretary and Acting Physical Director, 28th Street Branch YMCA
  • 1931-1950: Executive Director, Los Angeles Urban League
  • 1950-1957: Intergroup Relations Adviser, Zone V., Federal Housing Administration
  • 1957-1970: Equal Opportunity Specialist, Zone V., Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Extent

    20 Linear Feet (27 boxes, 5 oversize folders, and 1 artifact)

    Language of Materials

    English

    Overview

    Floyd C. Covington was a Black civic leader in Los Angeles from the late 1920s to the 1970s. Through his work as the first Executive Director of the Los Angeles Urban League and his service in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Covington redefined social welfare and equal opportunity in both employment and housing for various communities in Los Angeles. Covington's papers contain his early scholarship and poetry from his youth and education in Seattle, Washington and Topeka, Kansas; scrapbooks, photographs, posters, and reports from his leadership of the Los Angeles Urban League during the 1930s and 1940s; correspondence, speech drafts, and other writings documenting Covington's work in intergroup relations and equal opportunity at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; family mementos -- including papers and photographs from Covington's wife, Alma Covington, and his father in law, Thomas Augustus Greene, Sr.; and lastly, correspondence, realia, and creative works documenting Covington's strong relationships with community associations, such as the YMCA in Los Angeles, and his passions for creative writing, music, and theater. The Covington papers document the history of Los Angeles' African American community in both the pre- and post-World War II periods.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Purchased from Elizabeth Covington via John Ralmon, August 2017.
    Title
    Finding aid for the Floyd C. Covington papers
    Status
    Completed
    Author
    Bo Doub
    Date
    2018 November
    Description rules
    Describing Archives: A Content Standard
    Language of description
    English
    Script of description
    Latin

    Revision Statements

    • 2019 October: Finding aid updated by Bo Doub to include description of the Covington family book collection (held in box nos. 26-27).

    Repository Details

    Part of the USC Libraries Special Collections Repository

    Contact:
    Doheny Memorial Library 206
    3550 Trousdale Parkway
    Los Angeles California 90089-0189 United States