Former Urban League president James Buford dead at 75


James Buford and wife Susan.

ST. LOUIS – James Buford, the former president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, died Friday. He was 75.

Buford led the Urban League for 28 years. He twice served as a board member to the National Urban League and also as president of its Association of Executives.

“Jim Buford was a giant in the St. Louis Community that served with distinction and honor in countless roles impacting countless people. I met Mr. Buford when I was a teenager 32 years ago and watched him work hard to create the legacy that he did. The Urban League Movement has lost another champion of justice,” said Michael P. McMillan, president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.

Over the years he’s worked for several local organizations, including Grand Center, the Boy Scouts of America, Fair St. Louis, the UMSL Chancellor’s Council, Jobs for America’s Graduates, Heat-Up St. Louis, the Downtown Partnership Foundation, and the Missouri State University Foundation.

In 1999, he and other protesters were arrested for blocking Interstate 70 to push for job opportunities for minority contractors.

Buford’s cause of death was not made public.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

He’s survived by his wife, Susan, and two sons—James Jr. and Jason—and extended family.


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