Inquiry as Activism: Social Research & Achievement in the National Urban League

In the year 1910, a collective group of racial reformers founded the National Urban League in New York City. Its mission today seeks to advance “economic empowerment, equality, and social justice” for African Americans and other underserved groups. Through research on the disparities of common welfares for African Americans, the National Urban League uses their findings to assist and counsel in the areas of housing, education, job placement, and employment discrimination. The League has generated millions of dollars in funding that has supported educational scholarships, informational programs, and employment networks. They are known for assisting in the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the planning of the 1963 March on Washington. Today, the organization comprises 90 Urban League affiliate offices in the states that act as a liaison between the national office and local communities. This relationship helps to ensure the closing of equality gaps that exist in underserved communities, and growth in economic empowerment, educational health, civic engagement, and social welfare.

This is an online version of a physical exhibit that was on display in Kenneth Spencer Research Library from March 2019 through April of 2022. The exhibit was created by Tyler Allen, Student Assistant with the African American Experience Collection, Kenneth Spencer Research Library.