Message from the President and CEO
At the dawn of the 20th Century, Chicago saw an unprecedented increase in African Americans moving to the city in search of better jobs, housing, education and an escape from the Jim Crow South. Many arrived in Chicago and quickly realized that the “promised land” they heard and read about was not quite what they expected. To respond to the growing needs of the community, several bold business, civic, and religious leaders organized and, on December 11, 1916, held the first organizing meeting of the Chicago Urban League.
For nearly a century, the Chicago Urban League has been on the forefront of providing vital programs, in-depth research, powerful advocacy and strong community partnerships that have transformed hundreds of thousands of lives. We have seen the community through countless challenges, struggles and triumphs including two World Wars, the Civil Rights Movement, the Chicago Freedom Movement, demonstrations against discrimination in public schools, housing and the workforce, the historic elections of Mayor Harold Washington and President Barack Obama.
Through it all, the Chicago Urban League has remained a leader for economic, educational and social progress for African Americans. We did not do this alone. Our legacy is built on a large network of supporters, collaborators and success stories that demonstrate the impact of our innovative programs. We honor our founders for their boldness, strength, and determination to strengthen the African American community, thank you for your support that has sustained us for so long, and pledge to continue building on that legacy for the century of service that lies ahead.
Yours in the movement,