Lester Blackwell Granger

The final Black History Month highlight is Lester Blackwell Granger (1896-1976).

Lester Blackwell Granger was a social worker and civil rights and labor rights activist best known for leading the National Urban League (NUL) from 1941 to 1961. He was the first black person to serve as President of the National Conference of Social Welfare and the International Conference for Social Work.

He was first employed as a social worker from 1922 to 1934. In that capacity, Granger worked with black youth in New Jerseyís vocational school system. Granger introduced civil rights to the social work agenda as a national and international issue. He focused attention and advocacy energy on the goal of equal opportunity and justice for all people of color.

Grangerís work in the NUL focused mainly on fund-raising, educating the public on the ills of racism, and getting economic opportunities for black students at historically black colleges and universities. He is also credited with leading the development of unions among black workers as well as integrating white unions. He led the integration of black workers in defense industries and the beginnings of racial integration in the military services during World War II.

Thank you Lester Blackwell Granger for your efforts in desegregation and promoting opportunities for black students and workers!

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