Whitney M. Young, Jr. was Executive Director of the National Urban League from 1961 until his tragic, untimely death in 1971. He worked tireless to bring the races together, and joined the tenets of social work, of which he was an outstanding practitioner, to the social activism that brought the Urban League into the forefront of the civil rights arena.
Whitney was constantly in search of solutions to the racism that plagued Americans and caused black Americans to be regulated to second-class citizenship in the land they fought and died for. A relentless advocate for the poor, he visited rural and urban communities and advocated their cause to the nation. He was a close advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, and conferred with President Nixon; helping to shape the policies of three administrations and playing a major role in the development of the War on Poverty. He was a key figure in bringing the now-legendary 1963 March on Washington to fruition; and was a major force in bringing black leadership together in a united front for progress. Whitney’s eloquent testimony before Congressional committees and his poweful appeals to business, professional and civic leaders helped create an environment in which African Americans forged ahead to win new opportunities