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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. 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 1949, 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 military. During the African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968), Granger prevailed in his insistence that the NUL continue its strategy of "education and persuasion".
In 1961, Whitney Young became executive director amidst the expansion of activism in 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 such as "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.
Clarence M. Pendleton, Jr., was from 1975 to 1981, the head of the Urban League in San Diego, California. In 1981, U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan tapped Pendleton as the chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, a position which he held until his sudden death in 1988. Pendleton sought to steer the commission into the conservative direction in line with Reagan's views on social and civil rights policies.
In 1994, Hugh Price was appointed as president of the Urban League.
In 2003, Marc Morial, former mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana, was appointed the league's eighth President and Chief Executive Officer. He worked to reenergize the movement's diverse constituencies by building on the legacy of the organization and increasing the profile of the organization.
Today, more than 100 local affiliates of the National Urban League are 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. In 1989, it 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, New Jersey announced a partnership with the National Association of Professional Women to form a national "Open Doorways" project. It is designed to offer inner-city middle-school girls a chance to work with professional women as 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||attorney|
|Milton James Little, Jr.|
|Marc Haydel Morial||2003||Current||attorney|