today in black history

December 18, 2017

Rev. Jesse Jackson creates People United to Serve Humanity (PUSH), an offshoot of his "Operation Breadbasket," in 1971.

To Be Equal

POSTED: May 12, 2017, 7:00 am

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“Civil rights don't take place in a vacuum. They are meaningful only in the real world – the world where people have to survive to work, to raise their families, to instill in their children hope for the future and the skills to function in a society where a broad back and the desire to work are no longer enough. That is why we are concerned with tax cuts, with energy, with a multitude of issues some white people think are not the concern of blacks. That is why we see our present efforts as being the logical outcome of those struggles for basic rights of the 1960s. And that is why we insist there is a vital, moral component to the current struggle.” – National Urban League President Vernon E. Jordan, Jr.

Each year, the release of the National Urban League’s annual State of Black America® report triggers a national conversation on racial and economic justice. This year, for the first time, we’re putting that conversation on television.

In partnership with TV One, “National Urban League Presents: State of Black America” will air at 8 pm Eastern, 7 pm Central, on Wednesday, May 31.

Urban League affiliates, Guild chapters and our Young Professionals will be hosting watch parties in cities all across the country, while participating in the conversation on social media with the hashtag #StateOfBlackAmerica.

The two-hour event, which was taped during the National Urban League’s State of Black America Summit in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, features stimulating panel discussions and illuminating reports from our affiliates on education, mentorship, homeownership, employment and entrepreneurship.

Roland S. Martin, managing editor of TV One’s NewsOne Now, moderates the panels, which include culture critic Toure; Angela Sailor, former director of the Republican National Committee’s Coalitions department; CNN’s Symone Sanders; activist/TV host Jeff Johnson; author/professor Michael Eric Dyson, and CNN commentators Parris Dennard and Angela Rye.

Deep disagreements and wide-ranging proposals are to be expected with such a diverse and outspoken group, and the State of Black America panels did not disappoint. Charter schools vs. private schools vs. public schools? Gentrification? Urban infrastructure? Our panel had quite a lot to say.

Additionally, the program highlights Urban League signature programs in affiliates around the country:

  • Shari Runner, President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League, discusses Chicago’s Project Ready program.
  • Judson Robinson of the Houston Area Urban League, shares his affiliate’s Project Ready: Mentor program.
  • Erika McConduit-Diggs of the Urban League of Louisiana, discusses the Urban Re-Entry Jobs Program.
  • T. Willard Fair, President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Miami, is featured regarding access to affordable housing.
  • Nancy Flake Johnson, President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Atlanta, shares some of the success stories from her Entrepreneurship programs.

We encourage every American to join your local Urban League affiliate, Guild or Young Professionals for a watch party - or host your own! – and be a part of this historic event.


Marc Morial is the president and CEO of the National Urban League.

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