Huntington, WV Black History

Joseph Slash Jr.


Joseph A. Slash Jr. is a Huntington native who had a long and successful career as a CPA and also became the City of Indianapolis’ first Black deputy mayor.

Slash was born and raised in Huntington. He was valedictorian of the last class to graduate from Douglass High School in 1961. While at Douglass, he lettered in all sports and played in the band. He also was a member of the 1956 West Virginia State Championship Little League baseball team.

Slash graduated from Marshall University in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and subsequently became the first Black graduate from Marshall to become a CPA. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army. He became a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and the Robe Mens Honorary Fraternity at Marshall. He is a recipient of the Marshall University Black Alumni Outstanding Alumni Award and is a former member of the Lewis College of Business Advisory Board.

Slash is the retired president & CEO of the Indianapolis Urban League. He joined the League in 2002 as its Chief Operating Officer, was appointed President and CEO in 2003, and retired in 2014. During his tenure he was awarded the National Urban League’s CEO of the year award. Prior to the Urban League he was a Vice President of the Indianapolis Power & Light Company where his primary focus was in the areas of economic development, education, workforce development, education, workforce development, community relations, and special projects of the CEO.

Slash was the first Black deputy mayor of the City of Indianapolis, serving from 1978-89. In that capacity, he served as the senior deputy mayor and chief of staff. Prior to that, from 1968 to 1978, he worked as a staff accountant, became a CPA and then audit manager at Arthur Young & Company, now Ernst & Young.

Slash is a former member of the Board of Directors of Fifth Third Bank of Central Indiana and currently is a member of the Board of Directors of National Government Services, an Anthem subsidiary. He is a member of Board of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, former member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, Board of Advisors, member of the Dean’s Council of the Kelley School of Business of Indiana University at Indianapolis, Board of Directors of the Center for Leadership Development, Board of Trustees of The Indiana Historical Society, and the Board of Directors of the United Way. He also is a former director and member of the Executive Committee of the Indiana Sports Corporation and the Circle City Classic, where he was the executive coordinator.

Slash has been honored as a Sagamore of the Wabash by two governors, The National Urban League’s CEO of the Year, designated as a Village Elder by the National Council on Educating Black Children and was presented with the National Civil Rights Leadership Award by the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

He and his wife Meredith live in Indianapolis and are members of First Baptist Church of North Indianapolis.


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