The legacy of Marvin “Corky” Taylor — Rest in peace, Black Warrior, one of the Honest Five who refused to lie


ThroughMyEyesnewMarvin “Corky” Taylor was recognized by NERA (National Economic Research Associates) for his contributions to the completion of NERA’s October 21, 2010 report to the City of Minneapolis on the City’s purposeful failure to meet its diversity, equity and affirmative action responsibilities. NERA’s crack global research team of Wainwright, Holt, Kim Stewart and J. Wesley Stewart wrote: “This study would not have been possible without the assistance and perseverance of Mr. Marvin Taylor of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights.”

In Mr. Taylor they found a dedicated and persevering professional refusing to join in the sabotage of the research report. The response of his bosses at the City and its Civil Rights Department was his demotion and eventual loss of job.

The things that were done to Mr. Taylor after his demotion were calculated to break him. He was put into a dank basement office surrounded by asbestos. Then came terminal cancer. Then death.

The department and City were purposely involved in this rendition (polite word for torture) of Mr. Taylor. This bureaucratic rendition helped draw life from his body but not his spirit, nor his courage, nor his commitment to pursuing fairness and justice.

He sued. The City fought back. The City lost. On June 27, 2012 the Minneapolis City Attorney’s office notified Corky Taylor’s attorneys that a settlement agreement with the City was reached. A few hours later, Mr. Taylor died.

The City, relentless in its anger for its lawlessness exposed, decided to renege on the agreement. His wife, family and lawyers tenaciously kept the faith and fought the good fight until on November 14, 2012 Hennepin County appointed his wife personal representative of his estate. On February 4, 2013 the City of Minneapolis finally agreed to pay the settlement to his heirs.

A major legacy of Mr. Taylor is that, unlike his city and his City department, he never took his eyes off the prize. His fight reminds us that our city is for everyone, not just the Black and White elites.

The mayor’s office and Velma Korbel’s Civil Rights office should not have been concerned. No one protested that they did nothing about NERA’s findings. The City lost some money, but so what? It was taxpayer dollars, not theirs.

Black Minnesotans continue not to be hired. The City continues to support the Mortenson Construction Company, one of the biggest compliance violators identified in the report. The NERA research team declared against the character assassination directed toward Mr. Taylor and against four other members of the department: Mr. Brandon, Mr. Calderone, Ms. Maker, and Ms. Crossland.

The City became aware in 2009 and 2010 that the Honest Five had attained information that should have led to criminal investigations and indictments. See my columns of July 27, 2011 (“Marvin ‘Corky’ Taylor: latest casualty…”), and March 16, 2011 (“3 heroes of the civil rights struggle against corruption…”).

Since 2005, I have written 30 columns on the City’s and Civil Rights Department’s shameful record of violating hiring compliance. All are listed in my website’s solution paper #46.

They were called the Honest Five for refusing to be silent when they uncovered a very troubling system of false information, false figures, and shredding of documents. The NERA project team became very concerned about the validity and authenticity of information and statistical data received from the City. The Honest Five refused to lie; they refused to support the corruption of the City and its department of civil rights.

Tragically, two of the five are now deceased; another — threatened by City officials — is considering legal action. One has received a lucrative settlement from the City in exchange for his silence; and the fifth, Ms. Crossland, is slated for late spring termination.

From late July 2011 until late April 2012, Mr. Taylor fought his wrongful discharge, finally filing, on May 7, 2012, an employment discrimination charge with the federal government. The filed charges of this courageous American make for interesting reading, laying out his allegations, charges of corruption, and other illegal acts of the City and its Department of Civil Rights. The number of the file with his charges is #444-2012-00970.

The unfinished business left is the future of hiring Vikings People’s Stadium’s Black contractors and workers. The stadium authority knows about Mortenson’s history of noncompliance. Ted Mondale admitted it.

Ted asks, “Give us another chance.” Of course. But will they take it or place more under Minneapolis’ version of rendition?

Rest in peace, Black Warrior. Rest in peace.

Stay tuned.


Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinne Columns are archived at


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