What Do You Want to Be?

 The Movement

Thomas H. Warren

Mr. Thomas H. Warren, Sr.
President and CEO

We are the Urban League Movement in Nebraska.  We’ve been Empowering Communities and Changing Lives since 1927.

For more than 90 years, we hold steadfast to our role as a unique community resource. We offer direct services through programming and advocacy in Nebraska. We are an empowering voice in the community, advocating for economic self-reliance, parity, power, civil rights and equal opportunity for all.

The Urban League currently operates and serves residents within the tri-county area, with a primary target in the northeast region of the city. We are one of 93 affiliates in 34 states of the National Urban League movement.

Our Mission

We are an empowering voice in the community advocating for economic self-reliance, parity, power, civil rights and equal opportunity for all.

Our Vision

We will lead Nebraska in closing the social economic gap in the African American, other emerging ethnic communities and disadvantaged families in the achievement of social equality and economic independence and growth.

Our Location

Urban League of Nebraska

Urban League of Nebraska
Family Resource Center
3040 Lake Street
Omaha, NE  68111-3700

Bus Route 30 / 30th & Lake Street Stop

Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Metro Bus Route Map

Our History

president-johnson-civil-rights-leaders-01

Whitney M. Young Jr. (middle next to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) and other civil rights leaders meet with President Johnson

The Urban League movement began in New York in 1910. Its original purpose was to assist African-American migrants from rural and urban southern communities in adjusting to the social and economic problems of the north. The Omaha Urban League was founded on November 28, 1927. Its program focused on providing social and recreational activities for the African-American community in Omaha.

As the thirties approached, the League began to see a tremendous need for an extensive employment program that would aid local African Americans. It began to focus on domestic and common labor type employment, the only kind of work readily available to African Americans at that time. While community services and recreational activities rapidly expanded, the League also sought to increase economic opportunities.

In 1946 emphasis shifted to opening new areas of employment. The League worked to integrate the unions; to promote new housing construction in the African-American community, as well as the clearance of slums and the passage of open-occupancy law.

During the fifties and into the sixties, the League worked individually and in conjunction with other community groups to open the major local companies to minority employment, which was expanding out of the realm of domestic and common labor positions. In 1951 alone, twelve new firms hired African Americans for the first time and numerous other companies agreed to upgrade minority employees. Through the League’s efforts, the Omaha Housing Authority ended racial segregation in its low-rent federally subsidized public housing covering existing buildings as well as the proposed construction of 700 new units.

Moving through the sixties and into the seventies, the League’s basic philosophy was “equality for all men”. Major accomplishments included the successful drive to have the Omaha Public Schools hire more African-American teachers and to upgrade their status to include the junior and senior high school level. The League spearheaded the quest for integrated and quality education. Concerted efforts of the League resulted in the integration of off base housing for Offutt Air Force base personnel and their families.

The greatest emphasis remained on meaningful employment for minorities. It was the League’s philosophy on employment, that if a person had a substantial job, the other necessities of life would fall into place. Using that philosophy the League changed the course of employment in Omaha. African Americans for the first time became taxi cab drivers, route salesmen, sales clerks, elevator operators, and office workers for major dairy and beer companies, department stores, utility companies and packing houses throughout the Omaha community.

Learn more about the formation of the Lincoln Urban League from the archives of the Nebraska State Historical Society.