National Urban League Leadership Series: Eugene Kinckle Jones

President 1917 - 1941

Eugene Kinckle JonesNational Urban League

With a degree from Virginia Union University and a masters in social work from Cornell University, when Eugene Kinckle Jones was recruited by George Edmund Haynes, he fit into Haynes' vision of the Urban League as a movement led by social workers and community leaders. Jones, a Richmond, Virginia native and son of a former slave, joined the Urban League as a field secretary.

While at Cornell, Jones was also one of the founding members of the fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha. He quickly ascended to organizational leadership after Haynes stepped down in 1918.

Annual Conference, Columbus, Ohio by N.U.L. ArchivesNational Urban League

Jones' Tenure
Once Jones began to lead the Urban League, he shifted the focus from recruiting social workers to addressing the condition of Black Americans, establishing vocational training and guidance programs to prepare newly migrated families for the workforce.

Los Angeles Urban LeagueNational Urban League

During Jones' leadership, the nation saw a sharp rise in racial tensions with the Red Summer of 1919, the interwar period of the 1920's, and the Great Depression and New Deal of the 1930's.

NUL on Migration in 1916 by N.U.L. ArchivesNational Urban League

Jones issued the Urban League's official position on migration stating that "The National Urban League urges negroes everywhere to take advantage of this great industrial opportunity to work in cooperation with their local neighbors..."

Annual Conference, Detroit, Michigan by N.U.L. ArchivesNational Urban League

The Urban League also expanded its affiliate network, setting up national offices from New York to California, and hosted its first annual conference on January 26, 1917 on Migration in New York.

Credits: Story

Curated by Michael Tomlin-Crutchfield

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