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The National Urban League (NUL), formerly known as the National League on Urban Conditions Among Negroes, is a nonpartisan civil rights organization based in New York City that advocates on behalf of African Americans and against racial discrimination in the United States. It is the oldest and largest community-based organization of its kind in the nation. Its current President is 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 (founded in New York in 1906) and the National League for the Protection of Colored Women (founded in 1905), and was renamed the National League on Urban Conditions Among Negroes.
In 1918, Eugene K. Jones took the leadership of the organization and under his direction, the League significantly expanded its multifaceted campaign to crack the barriers to black employment, spurred first by the boom years of the 1920s, and then, by the desperate years of the Great Depression.
In 1920 the organization took the present name, the National Urban League. The mission of the Urban League movement is "to enable African Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights."
In 1941, Lester Granger was appointed Executive Secretary and led the NUL's effort to support the March on Washington proposed by A. Phillip Randolph, Bayard Rustin and A. J. Muste to protest racial discrimination in defense work and the Armed Forces. During the African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968), his insistence that the NUL continue its strategy of "education and persuasion" prevailed.
In 1961, Whitney Young became executive director amidst the explosion of the civil rights movement which provoked a change for the League. Young substantially expanded the League's fund-raising ability- and made the League a full partner in the civil rights movement. In 1963, the NUL hosted the planning meetings of A. Philip Randolph, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other civil rights leaders for the March on Washington. During Young's ten-year tenure at 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.
In 1994, Hugh Price was appointed to the League's top office at a critical moment for the League, for Black America, and for the nation as a whole.
In 2003, Marc Morial was appointed the league's eighth President and Chief Executive Officer. Since his appointment to the National Urban League, Morial has worked to reenergize the movement's diverse constituencies by building on the strengths of the NUL's 95 year old legacy and increasing the organization's profile both locally and nationally.
Today, there are over 100 local affiliates of the National Urban League located in 35 states and the District of Columbia.
The National Urban League is an organizational member of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, which advocates gun control, and in 1989, was the beneficiary of all proceeds from the Stop the Violence Movement and their hip hop single, "Self Destruction".
In February 2010 the Urban League of Essex County announced their partnership with The National Association of Professional Women to form a national "Open Doorways" project, designed to offer young inner-city middle school girls an opportunity to benefit from professional female role models.
The Presidents (or Executive Directors) of the National Urban League have been:
|George Edmund Haynes||1910||1918||social worker|
|Eugene Kinckle Jones||1918||1940||civil rights activist|
|Lester Blackwell Granger||1941||1961||civic leader|
|Whitney Moore Young, Jr.||1961||1971||civil rights activist|
|Vernon Eulion Jordan, Jr.||1971||1981||attorney|
|John Edward Jacob||1982||1994||civil rights activist|
|Hugh Bernard Price||1994||2002||civil rights activist|
|Milton James Little, Jr.
|Marc Haydel Morial||2003||Current||attorney
former Mayor of New Orleans
Houston Area Urban League building in Downtown Houston
Wall Street, New York