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National Urban League (14801 hits)

National Urban League

Background and Summary

The National Urban League, formerly known as the National League of Black Men and Women, is a non-partisan civil rights organization based in New York City that advocates on behalf of Blacks and against racial discrimination in the United States. It is the oldest and largest community-based organization of its kind in the nation. The president of NUL, in 2008, was Marc Morial.

The Committee on Urban Conditions Among Negroes was founded in New York City on September 29, 1910, by Ruth Standish Baldwin and Dr. George Edmund Haynes, among others. It merged with the Committee for the Improvement of Industrial Conditions Among Negroes in New York, which was founded in New York in 1906, and also the National League for the Protection of Colored Women that was founded in 1905. After the combination, it was renamed the National League on Urban Conditions Among Negroes. NUL grew out of that spontaneous grassroots movement for freedom and opportunity that came to be called The Great Migration (to the North).

In 1918, Eugene K. Jones took over leadership of the organization, and under his direction, NUL significantly expanded its multifaceted campaign to crack the barriers of Black unemployment that was spurred, first, by the boom years of the 1920s, and then, by the desperate years of the Great Depression in the next decade. In 1920, the organization assumed its present name, the National Urban League. The mission of NUL movement is "to enable African-Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights."

New Management

In 1941, Lester Granger was appointed executive secretary and led the NUL's effort to support the March on Washington event proposed by A. Phillip Randolph, Bayard Rustin and A. J. Muste. The march was thought up to protest racial discrimination, push for better jobs and true civil rights for all Americans. During the Civil Rights Movement beginning in 1955 and lasting until 1968, Granger’s insistence that the NUL continue its strategy of "education and persuasion" prevailed.

In 1961, Whitney Young became executive director amidst rapid growth and popularity of the Civil Rights Movement, and this provoked a change for the League also. Young substantially expanded NUL’s fundraising ability and made the League a full partner in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1963, the NUL hosted the planning meetings of  Randolph, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other leaders for the March on Washington. During Young's 10-year tenure with the League, he initiated programs like "Street Academy," an alternative education system to prepare high school dropouts for college, and "New Thrust," an effort to help local Black leaders identify and solve community problems. Young also pushed for federal aid to cities with large low-income populations.

In 1994, Hugh Price was appointed to the League's top office at a critical moment. And in 2003, Morial was appointed the NUL's eighth president and CEO. Since his appointment, Morial has worked to re-energize the urban progress movement's diverse constituencies by increasing the organization's profile and building on the strengths of the NUL's 95-year-old legacy.

Today, there are over 100 local affiliates of NUL, located in 35 states and the District of Columbia. NUL is an also organizational member of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence organization, which advocates gun control, and, in 1989, NUL was the beneficiary of all proceeds from the Stop the Violence Movement.

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Monday, March 3rd 2008 at 5:01PM
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