NEW YORK -- Black activists charged that the newly appointed schools chancellor is a black "puppet" who can be controlled by the mayor and school board president, and they vowed to marshal a broad coalition to block the appointment.

Richard Green, superintendent of Minneapolis schools since 1980, was named Saturday by the Board of Education as the first black chancellor in the nation's largest school system.

But the Rev. Al Sharpton, who organized several recent protests against racial violence and discrimination in the city, said blacks feel Green's appointment is "ludicrous at best, insulting in fact."

"Mayor {Edward} Koch is being racially cynical by having a puppet appointed rather than a qualified black chancellor," Sharpton told a news conference. "We cannot become racist by saying we support him just because he is black."

Likening Green to Benjamin Ward, the city's first -- and often embattled -- black police commissioner, Sharpton called him "a black face for policies that will be dictated by the mayor and Mr. {Robert} Wagner," the board president.

A private meeting of the city's black leadership was planned for today to discuss means of blocking Green's appointment, which is subject to an official vote of the seven-member school board Wednesday.