John L. LeFlore was a civil rights leader and politician in Mobile, Alabama. He founded the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1925. When that organization was expelled from the state in 1956, LeFlore and others founded the Non-Partisan Voting League to carry on the civil rights work. He served as the director of casework from 1959 until his death.
Leflore was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama and attended local black segregated schools. As an adult he started working for the US Postal Service, which was considered a good position. In 1925 he founded the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, leading it for decades and working to improve civil rights for the black community.
In 1956, the state attorney general and state courts forced the NAACP to stop operating in the state. Leflore and others founded the Non-Partisan Voting League that year in Mobile to carry on the civil rights struggle. Among its activities was to promote election of better candidates in elections.
In 1957, LeFlore introduced what were known as “pink sheets,” which gave information and endorsement of candidates in city elections. The NPVL recommended election of Joseph N. Langan as a commissioner, who had already formed an alliance with LeFlore to promote civil rights in the city. He served four terms as city commissioner, continuing to work with LeFlore on voting rights, hiring of blacks as municipal employees, and integration of public facilities.
Leflore also helped establish the NAACP’s Regional Conference of Southern Branches and became its first chairman. In the 1940s and 50s, LeFlore, served as a news correspondent for the Chicago Defender, the Pittsburgh Courier, and the Associated Negro Press, reported on numerous civil rights violations occurring in the South.
During the early 1960s, LeFlore successfully desegregated several downtown businesses, restaurants, and the city-owned golf course. LeFlore was the first African American appointed to the Mobile Housing Board in 1966. He also made an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 1973, but the following year LeFlore and Gary Cooper, became the first African Americans elected to the state legislature from Mobile since Reconstruction. LeFlore died from a heart attack in 1976.