Ruth Standish Baldwin, a prominent, progressive Morristown socialite, was highly respected among the social and civic elite of her day. She was an ardent champion for racial reform and civil rights for African Americans, and by her living example, demonstrated that the battle for racial equality and justice is best waged when African Americans and whites work together. Mrs. Baldwin and Dr. George Edmund Haynes, an African American who urged the African American college educated and middle class to become involved in the problems of urban African Americans were co-founders of what is known today as the National Urban League.

 

We remain grateful and indebted to the many Morris County visionaries who preceded us and who helped build the name "Urban League" into what has become synonymous with "equality." The following are but a few of these visionaries:

 

James Lassiter, Jr.     Nancy Larson      Rev. Finely Keech     Nelson Mintz      Elizabeth Shay  

 

W. Parsons Todd      Eric Katzenstein    Dr. George Kelsey     Gladys Banks      Vernon Rowe          

 

Norman Griffith       Frank Scerbo

  Brief History of Urban League

As far back as 1919, there existed local organizations that championed the causes of social justice for African Americans, and who embraced many of the ideas that would be later formulated by the Urban League. The Phyllis Wheatley Unit of the Women's Community Club, at 83-85 Spring Street in Morristown, was the center of all social activities outside the church for the African American community. Later, in 1944, a multi racial group of concerned citizens met and formed what was then called the Morristown Service Council of the National Urban League.

As the only African American social services organization of its kind in this community, the Urban League was the first to act as a liaison between industry and African Americans, securing employment opportunities with major corporations, and paving the way for the hiring of qualified minorities into management positions by these corporations.

Additionally, the Urban League was the first organization to work with high school guidance departments to encourage African Americans students to pursue education beyond high school.

The Urban League was also the first organization to advocate the need for low-income housing, and spearheaded a study of Morristown, resulting in the Pocahontas Project, today known as Mannahan Village.

Operating with a multi-racial volunteer Board of Trustees, staff, and community volunteers, we provide a wide range of programs that address needs identified throughout the Morris County area in the form of: Youth Education & Leadership; Employment Training & Placement; Fair Housing & Assistance services, and Community Outreach activities.

Having served over 4000 families in 2001, the Urban League remains a key advocacy and social service organization for African-Americans, other minorities, and disadvantaged people.