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This date marks the founding of the National Urban League (NUL) in 1911. The National Urban League is a nonprofit social service and civil rights organization with headquarters in New York City.
The National Urban League grew out of the 19th century Black Migrations. When the U.S. Supreme Court declared its approval of segregation in the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson, what had been a trickle of Blacks northward turned into a flood. At that time, in the degree of difference between South and North lay opportunity that Blacks clearly understood. But to capitalize on that opportunity, they would need help. That was the reason the Committee on Urban Conditions Among Negroes was established on September 29, 1910 in New York City, George Haynes was its first President.
A year later, the Committee 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) to form the National League on Urban Conditions Among Negroes. In 1920, the name was later shortened to the National Urban League. The mission of the National Urban League is to assist African Americans in achieving social and economic equality.
The NUL has used tools of scientific social work to offer programs to help African Americans. The organization implements its mission through advocacy and public education regarding public policies that affect African Americans; efforts to promote understanding between races; publication of research into the conditions of African Americans; programs in job training, education, and career development; and technical assistance to affiliates.
At its beginning, the NUL formed its social services on white charitable organizations of the times such as settlement houses, agencies, and immigrant aid societies; adapting them to the needs of Blacks. Adjustments were made during the Great Migration to the north, the Great Depression, and the Civil Rights Movement. The organization has 113 affiliates in 34 states and Washington, D.C. The current President of the National Urban League is Marc Morial.
The Encyclopedia of African American Heritage
by Susan Altman
Copyright 1997, Facts on File, Inc. New York