• The Chicago Urban League Celebrates its 95th Anniversary

    Founded in 1916 at the height of the Great Migration and well before the Civil Rights Movement, the Chicago Urban League has stood the test of time through its programming, collaborations, research and advocacy. Through challenges and triumphs the Chicago Urban League remains relevant, engaged and a vital resource for Chicago’s African American community and to the city of Chicago as a whole. The Chicago Urban League’s first organizers, a group of community, civic, and business notables, set out with one main mission in mind: to create an organization to bring about social and economic justice to Chicago’s African American population.

    The Chicago Urban League continues to build on the legacy of its founders by being a leader in building strong, sustainable communities and creating opportunities with the power to transform people’s lives.

    Meet the founders of the Chicago Urban League:

    • T. Arnold Hill T. Arnold Hill
      National Urban League Industrial Secretary
      Hosted first organizing meeting of the Chicago Urban League on December 11, 1916
      Later became first Executive Secretary (President) of the Chicago Urban League
    • Eugene Kinckle Jones Eugene Kinckle Jones
      National Urban League Associate Director (and later Executive Secretary)
      Hosted first organizing meeting of the Chicago Urban League on December 11, 1916
    • Robert Park Robert Park, First Board President
      Professor, University of Chicago
    • George Clevelnad Hall Dr. George Cleveland Hall, Board Member
      Pioneer in surgery and Chairman of the Medical Advisory Board at Provident Hospital
      Appointed Chief of Staff at Hospital in 1926
    • Celia Parker Wooley Celia Parker Wooley, Board Member
      Unitarian Minister and Civil Rights Activist
    • Julian Mack Judge Julian Mack, Board Member
      United States Court of Appeals for the Second and Sixth Circuits
    • Jane Addams Jane Addams, Board Member
      Pioneer social worker in America, as a feminist, and as an internationalist
    • Albert B. George Judge Albert B. George, Incorporator and Board Secretary
      First African American Elected Municipal Court Judge in Chicago
    • Robert S. Abbott Robert S. Abbott, Board Member
      Founder, Chicago Defender Newspaper
    • Mary Rozet Smith Mary Rozet Smith, Board Member
      Philanthropist and Jane Addams Hull-House Volunteer

    Other Founding Board of Director members include:

    • Dr. Horace J. Bridges, Incorporator and Second President
    • Miss Amelia Sears, Twice Acting President, Incorporator, Board Member
    • Elbridge Bancroft Pierce, Third President, Board Member
    • Dr. M. O. Bousfield, President
    • A.K. Maynard, Incorporator and First Treasurer
    • Judge E. O. Brown, Incorporator and Board Member
    • Joanna Snowden Porter, Incorporator
    • William C. Graves, Incorporator and Board Member
    • Arthur T. Aldis, Incorporator
    • Rabbi Louis L Mann, Board Member
    • Gertrude Howe Britton, Incorporator
    • Dr. John W. Lewis, Board Member
    • Walter J. Greenebaum, Board Member and 2nd Treasurer

    We thank founders for their foresight and pioneering spirit of empowerment and social consciousness. The Chicago Urban League remains committed to empowering communities and changing lives.