YOUNG, WHITNEY M., JR. One of the most prominent black leaders of the 1960's and former Executive Secretary of the National Urban League (NUL), Whitney Moore Young, Jr. was born in Lincoln Ridge, Kentucky in 1921. Educated at Lincoln Institute and Kentucky State College (B. S., 1941), Young studied for a year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before serving with the U. S. Army in Europe during World War II. Following the war, he attended the University of Minnesota and was awarded an M. A. degree in social work in 1947. The topic of his Master's thesis was the history of the National Urban League's chapter in St. Paul, Minnesota.
From 1947 to 1950, Young acted as director of industrial tions and vocational guidance for the Urban League of .St. Paul. He was named executive director of the Omaha Urban League in 1950, a position he held until his appointment as Dean of the Atlanta University School of Social Work in 1954. Remaining at Atlanta until 1961, Young managed to double the school's enrollment and budget, thereby increasing its national prestige. On August 1, 1961, he succeeded Lester Granger as Executive Director of the National Urban League. Although the Urban League traditionally had held aloof from active participation in the Civil Rights Revolution, under Young's direction it became increasingly involved in the national effort to secure political and socioeconomic equality for American blacks. In 1963, for example, the NUL joined with the NAACP, CORE, SCLC and SNCC to plan and participate in the now-famous March on Washington.
In addition to his Urban League activities, Young was an esteemed author. His first book, To Be Equal, was published in 1964, with his Beyond Racism appearing in 1969. He also wrote a nationally-syndicated newspaper column, "To Be Equal," which appeared in over one hundred papers throughout the United States. One of his most persistent themes was that the American government should provide for a domestic Marshall Plan which would expend upwards of one hundred billion dollars in a crash program to eradicate socioeconomic deprivation and inequity in American society. Young's premature death in 1971, just three years after the assassination of Martin Luther King, deprived black America of another strong and influential leader. See also: NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE.