1968: The Global Revolutions

Freedom Struggles: Get Organized! > Whitney M. Young, Jr.

As executive director of the National Urban League, Whitney M. Young, Jr., was a significant figure in the civil rights movement. A skilled behind-the-scenes operator, Young was rarely in the forefront of street demonstrations. Instead, in the words of Bayard Rustin, he was a mediator among leaders – “the concrete that keep the bricks from falling apart.” The National Urban League had a long history of mobilizing social science and business partnerships for civil rights causes. Under Young’s leadership the League transitioned from advocating for social services to participating in social protests, though it was never among the radical organizations of the era. For instance, in the interest of focusing on civil rights, the group, unlike Dr. King, demurred from openly criticizing the war in Vietnam.

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