Activist and journalist Mackie McLeod III dies at age 57
Mackie J. McLeod III, an activist, journalist and commentator whose
passions lay with development in Africa and within African American
communities, died from complications of kidney disease October 9th
in Washington, DC at the age of 57.
Born in Roxbury and raised in Randolph, McLeod attended San Francisco
State College and the Fellows Program at MIT. His parents, Hazel
Campbell and Mackie McLeod II were both civil rights activists.
McLeod traveled and worked all over the world beginning with his
volunteer work with the United Nations Development Program in Dakar,
Senegal during the 1970s. McLeod remained connected to Africa, not
only by being deeply engaged with U.S. foreign policy toward Africa,
but also by living in South Africa and Zimbabwe for various periods
In Boston, McLeod was best known for his work as a broadcaster focusing
on politics for several local media outlets, including WILD, WBUR,
WBCN and WGBH. While he was producing the show “On Being Black”
for WGBH, McLeod met his wife of 37 years, Zubaida Price. It was
while on the air that McLeod came up with the phrase, “If
you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own.”
He also wrote commentary on African politics for publications such
as Dollars and Sense.
McLeod also served as a media consultant for the American Civil
Liberties Union of Massachusetts, later becoming an advisor to the
Washington, DC chapter of the ACLU.
Although he was involved in civil rights and organizing against
the Vietnam War, McLeod’s heart and soul still rested with
humanitarian issues and development in Africa.
Throughout the 1980s, he worked as the public relations director
for the Boston-based nonprofit, Grassroots International, which
focused on alleviating famine in West Africa.
McLeod also played a pivotal role in the local anti-apartheid movement,
mobilizing both businesses and nonprofits. In 1992, McLeod became
executive director of the Lotus Information Technology Education
Fund, relocating with his family to Johannesburg, South Africa.
McLeod worked with American corporations as a social investment
advisor. At Lotus Technology, McLeod pushed the company to provide
technology to hundreds of South African youth, small businesses
and educational institutions.
In the late 1990s, as his health began to fail, McLeod and his wife
returned to the United States to live with his daughter Zambia,
settling in Silver Spring, Maryland.
McLeod leaves his wife, Zubaida Price McLeod, his daughter Zambia
McLeod Davis, a son-in-law Willie Davis, a grandson, Miles Dakari
Davis, all of Silver Spring, MD, and brothers David McLeod of Chicago
and Gearey McLeod of Los Angeles. Family and friends will hold a
remembrance to honor the life of Mackie J. McLeod III on Nov. 26
at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, DC.