On September 29th, 1910, The Committee on Urban Conditions Among Negroes was formed. It was created in response to the great migration of African-Americans from the South to the North in the wake of the “Plessy V. Ferguson” U.S. Supreme Court decision that legally validated the concept of “separate but equal.”
Eventually, the New York-based organization merged with the Committee for the Improvement of Industrial Conditions Among Negroes in New York, and the National League for the Protection of Colored Women, becoming the National League on Urban Conditions Among Negroes. In 1920, the name was shortened to its current incarnation, the National Urban League.
Central figures in the founding of the Committee were Mrs. Ruth Standish Baldwin, widow of a railroad magnate and member of a well-known family, and Dr. George E. Haynes, the first Black person to earn a doctorate from Columbia University. Haynes was the Committee’s first executive director. Alpha Man Eugene K. Jones, one of the “seven jewels” of the fraternity, became the NUL’s the first Executive Secretary, leading the organization from 1918 until 1940.
Under the leadership of Whitney Young, the NUL focused mainly on economic opportunities for African-Americans flourishing in that space between 1961 and 1971. Under the direction of its current president Marc Morial, who has served since 2003, the NUL’s mission of economic self-reliance and equity for African-Americans remains the priority.
PHOTO: Marc Morial Pic Courtesy National Urban League
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