BILLY TAYLOR BIOGRAPHY
William A. "BILLY" Taylor, was born on May 27, 1956 in Providence, RI, the eighth child of sixteen. Not many people knew but, Billy was born with a heart condition that led to open-heart surgery when he was just two years old. He was the youngest individual recorded to have open-heart surgery in Providence, RI's Lying-In Hospital during that time and was not expected to live beyond the age of five.
Billy attended Rhode Island College where he was once President, Vice President, and then Treasurer in 1979 of the Student Harambee group that sought to exhibit a responsibility to our community and society and unite those of different cultural ethnic backgrounds. While attending Rhode Island College and serving as the Harambee Treasurer, Billy served as the Mount Hope Neighborhood Association's Director of the Youth Department. In this role, Billy was able to advocate for more services and aide to the Mount Hope community youth.
After graduating from Rhode Island College in 1980, Billy became even more active in the Mount Hope community. He and other residents formed a group called the “Pleasant Street Peasants” (PSP). The PSP’s main goal was to show the Mount Hope youth that there was another world outside of the 12 blocks that most would never see beyond as youths. The PSP eventually purchased a used bus to shuttle youth to movies, parties, parks, museums, talent shows, camping trips, beach trips, and other places the youth normally wouldn't have access to.
Billy Loved the Mount Hope Neighborhood and especially the youth that were growing up in it. He lived across the street from the Mt Hope Neighborhood Association, at 185 Camp Street, above Jack's Famous Barbershop. Many of days and nights Billy opened his home to youth who were struggling within the community. A lot of the youth in the neighborhood grew up without a father figure within the home and it was Billy that they looked up to provide this example. He was a very giving and compassionate man and always approached the youth from a standpoint of unconditional love. Billy wanted the best for the youth in the neighborhood and would do whatever he could to see to it that they were engaged and had hope.
On Saturday, May 10, 1986 William A. “Billy” Taylor succumbed to his heart condition and was laid to rest at the young age of 29. He lived each day like it was his last laboring in the service of others. In memory of Billy’s great community service and building, the park on 124 Camp Street was named in his honor, and on January 4, 2011 he along with Leo DiMaio, founder of the College Readiness program and Talent Development program at URI, and the late Providence Councilman Miguel C. Luna were inducted into the Martin Luther King hall of Fame.