In Black History Month this year, the Urban League proudly highlights the history of our work in Atlanta as we celebrate the centennial of our founding in 1920. Please enjoy this recap and keep an eye on this site for weekly highlights on notable people and events that shaped our course.

Our agency grew out of a recognition on the part of Jesse O. Thomas that Atlanta needed a formal, organized vehicle for addressing the social and economic problems that beset black Atlantans. Pressing issues included poor housing, inadequate employment opportunities, inadequate health services, unequal educational opportunities and limited participation in the civic discourse and political decisions. Thomas (1885-1972), a notable civil rights leader and protégé of Booker T. Washington, established the Atlanta organization as an affiliate of the National Urban League that was founded in 1910 and headquartered in New York.

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