Floyd C. Covington (1901-1989)

Floyd C. Covington
Courtey USC Libraries, Floyd Covington Papers, Fair use image

Floyd C. Covington was a leader in Los Angeles’s black community for more than fifty years. A native of Denver, Colorado, Covington endured many traumatic experiences during his childhood. The 1910 manuscript census indicates that Covington’s father did not live with his family. Covington’s mother Lulu died before he reached adulthood, and Covington was adopted by Reverend and Mrs. James Logan Craw. Craw’s ministry took the family to Los Angeles, Spokane, Seattle, and Topeka, Kansas.

After graduating from high school in Seattle in 1923, Covington entered Washburn College, in Topeka, Kansas. He earned his B.A. in sociology in 1927. Covington won a National Urban League fellowship that allowed him to complete an M.A. in sociology and economics at the University of Pittsburgh in 1928.

Following the completion of his formal education, Covington moved to Los Angeles, where he was hired as the membership secretary of the 28th Street Branch of the YMCA. He later took the position of industrial secretary of the Los Angeles branch of the National Urban League, and in 1931 he was appointed executive director of the branch, a position he held until 1950. Covington established good working relationships with many other community leaders, leaders of other ethnic communities, and local elected officials.

During World War II Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron appointed Covington to the Mayor’s Committee on Home Front Unity, whose goal was to reduce racial and ethnic tensions in the city. In 1947 California Governor Earl Warren appointed Covington to a special commission to investigate crime and delinquency.

Covington resigned his post with the Urban League in 1950 and accepted a position as a racial relations advisor with the Federal Housing Administration. He worked for the FHA until 1975.

Soon after he arrived in Los Angeles, Covington married Willa Alma Greene (1902-1995). Alma Covington taught and served as an elementary school principal in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley honored Floyd and Willa Covington for their service to the city’s people by proclaiming April 24, 1984   “Floyd and Willa Covington Day.”