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SF mourns death of LeRoy King, longtime civil rights and labor leader

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LeRoy King, best known as a San Francisco labor and civil rights leader, died Friday at age 91. COURTESY FAMILY OF LEROY KING
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Flags at San Francisco City Hall will be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset Monday in memory of civil rights and labor leader LeRoy King, a long-serving member of The City’s Redevelopment Commission.

King died Friday of natural causes at the St. Francis Square Cooperative in The City’s Western Addition neighborhood. He was 91, according to his daughter Rebecca King Morrow.

Apart from his leadership on the Redevelopment Commission, LeRoy King was known for his work with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, for which he served as regional director in Northern California.

He brought labor and black churches together and saw through the promotion of blacks into the leadership ranks of the union, Rebecca King Morrow, 62, said.

“He advocated for struggling people so that they would have had a good wage and fair working conditions and were treated with dignity and respect and without racism,” she said.

LeRoy King also helped the union find funding to create the cooperative where he lived, recognized as one of the first integrated housing complexes for working families.

Much of The City’s legacy would not have been possible without King, Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement
on Sunday.

“We will never forget Leroy’s outstanding leadership and his many achievements in advancing workers rights, fighting for civil rights and equality, building affordable housing for our families, and preserving culture in our African American and Japanese American communities with the more than three decades he served on our City’s Redevelopment Commission,” Lee said in the statement. “His indomitable spirit and resolute commitment has shaped San Francisco, and his legacy will live on in our City.”

He is survived by his daughters Rebecca King Morrow and Carolyn King Samoa, his son LeRoy King Jr., five grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. His wife, Julia King, died in 2000.

jkwong@sfexaminer.com

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