Executive Secretary Whitney Young Jr.
During the 1960s and under the executive leadership of Whitney Young Jr., the NUL became one of five major Civil Rights Organizations of the decade. The Kentucky University (formally Kentucky State College) graduate joined the Army Specialist training program during World War II. Gaining a speedy promotion from private to first sergeant, caused a rift amongst black soldiers and white officers. Young would use his experience to fuel his interest in racism, fighting for civil rights, and his agenda in the National Urban League. Young was one of the first Black Civil Rights leaders to create affirmative action initiatives and increased the NUL’s budget to almost 15 million dollars by the 1970s. Understanding the influence money had on the mission of the NUL, Young secured finances from major corporations such as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Field Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. During his leadership, Young gave speeches to large businesses and corporations, urging them to invest in inner cities, African American businesses, neighborhoods, and value legislation that would destroy problems of the ghetto.