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Mission & History of the Urban League


The Fort Wayne Urban League empowers individuals to move toward greater independence and self-sufficiency by providing mentoring education, support and advocacy as well as securing civil rights.


In 1920 a small group of forward-thinking Fort Wayne African Americans, noting the rising numbers of their fellowmen moving northward from the South, decided they needed an agency to help them cope with the challenges they were confronting in their new community.

They formed the Fort Wayne Community Association, the precursor of the present Fort Wayne Urban League. They called their home the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center and worked primarily to provide organized recreation and social groups.

In 1948 the National Urban League conducted a study of the local organization's needs and potential. Its leaders knew that to remain a viable organization it must develop programs geared more specifically to housing, employment and industrial relations, community organization and race relations. As a result, on October 1, 1949, the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center was disbanded and the association became known only as the Fort Wayne Urban League.

For more than 90 years, the Fort Wayne Urban League has provided a wide variety of services to help thousands of diverse Fort Wayne residents reach their potential, and achieve self-sufficiency for themselves and their families. It has also served as a significant recruitment source for employers seeking to develop an inclusive workforce. Today the Fort Wayne Urban League continues to fulfill its mission through the delivery of programs that address contemporary needs, as we pursue our vision "to be the premier catalyst for positive change in the quality of life for African Americans and others in the greater Fort Wayne Community."