The Civil Rights Movement took root in Chicago thanks to the fearless leadership of men, women and youth who refused to accept the status quo and stood united for change. Through negotiation, litigation and demonstration, these brave individuals helped change Chicago and the nation. Among those great leaders were Chicago Urban League executive director Edwin C. “Bill” Berry and Bishop Arthur M. Brazier.
Bishop Brazier and Bill Berry were part of a strategic alliance of diverse business, civic and faith leaders that welcomed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Chicago and inspired hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans to raise their voices against the forces of segregation that denied people of their basic human dignity and educational and economic opportunities.
Today the Chicago Urban League, along with faith partners like Apostolic Church of God and community partners like the Network of Woodlawn continue the great legacy of working for equality and empowerment. We stand on the shoulders of transformative leaders like Bishop Brazier and Bill Berry and are often reminded of their many sacrifices and contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.
- Andrea L. Zopp – Chicago Urban League, President and CEO