|History of the Louisville Urban League|
The Louisville Urban League is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, interracial community service organization dedicated to the elimination of racism and its effects within our community. The Louisville Urban League's mission is to assist African-American and disadvantaged persons in the achievement of social and economic equality primarily through education, employment, housing, family development, and community development.
Through the years the League has sought to create and implement programs to improve the socioeconomic conditions of minority-group and low-income individuals; to create an interaction with community leaders, public officials, other agencies, and the business sector; and to assume an advocacy and bridge-building role to promote understanding and greater racial harmony.
The Early Years
As African-Americans began migrating from rural areas to urban communities after the turn of the century, they encountered an industrial world for which there were unprepared. In Louisville a group of progressive-minded African-American women became involved in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program as a way of providing guidance and role models for African-American children. Their efforts expanded when they were joined by a group of African-American and influential White men seeking to alleviate other problems within the Black community.
Thus in 1920, only 10 years after the founding of what was to become the National Urban League, the Louisville Urban League emerged and became a member agency of the Community Chest. It was incorporated in August 1921 and was initially known as The Urban League of Louisville for Social Service Among Negroes and as The Louisville Branch of the National Urban League before becoming the Louisville Urban League. Elwood Street, serving as temporary Chairman, appointed a five-person committee to create the framework for a local Urban League. The first Executive Secretary was appointed and the work of the Louisville Urban League began.
Over the years, great individuals have led the organization through times of transition, triumph and tribulation. Still, with each era the Louisville Urban League emerged at the forefront of critical issues that have molded the community into what it is today. These great leaders, as well as their major accomplishments are listed below.
As the new millennium begins, the League, in partnership with other local organizations, looks forward to fostering a better understanding of race relations, to creating an environment of change committed to eliminating racial inequities, and to instilling a message of hope in those it touches.
For further information about the rich history of the Louisville Urban League, contact us at (502) 561-6830.