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|Born||September 16, 1896|
Newport News, Virginia, U.S.
Alexandria, Louisiana, U.S.
|Alma mater||Dartmouth College|
|Occupation||Civic leader, social worker|
Lester Blackwell Granger (September 16, 1896 – January 1976) was an African American civic leader who organized the Los Angeles chapter of the National Urban League (NUL) and headed the league from 1941 to 1961.
Granger was born in Newport News, Virginia and was one of six sons. His mother was a teacher, and his father was a doctor from Barbados. He grew up in Newark, New Jersey, and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1918. He was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
He served in the US Army during World War I and worked briefly for the Newark chapter of the National Urban League.
In 1930, he organized the Los Angeles chapter of the National Urban League (NUL). In 1934, he led the organization's efforts to promote trade unionism among African-American workers and challenge racism by employers and labor organizations.
In 1941, illness made the executive secretary of the NUL, Eugene Kinckle Jones, no longer able to carry out duties, and Granger was appointed as Jones' successor. During his first year as the leader of the NUL, Granger led the its effort to support the March on Washington proposed by A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin and A. J. Muste to protest racial discrimination in defense work and the armed forces. In 1945, he began working with the Department of Defense to desegregate the military, seeing first success with the Navy in February 1946. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, he insisted that the NUL continue its strategy of "education and persuasion," which the NUL continued to support. Granger retired from the NUL in 1961 and joined the faculty of Dillard University, in New Orleans.
Among many other activities, he remained a leading figure in social work over the years, serving as president of the National Conference of Social Work in 1952. He was the first American citizen to serve in this capacity.
Death and legacy
- Streator, George. "SCHOOL IN JERSEY AIDS NEGRO YOUTHS; Bordentown 'Exposes' Them to Trades and Skills While Promoting Self-Respect", The New York Times, November 21, 1948. Accessed June 3, 2010.
- Parris, Guichard and Lester Brooks. Blacks in the City: A History of the National Urban League. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. 1971. pp. 273-285.
- Parris, Guichard and Lester Brooks. Blacks in the City: A History of the National Urban League. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. 1971. pp. 285-286.
- Thomas, Jesse. "Urban League Bulletin." The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945): 1. Jan 25 1942. ProQuest. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.
- CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY, Washington DC. Morris J. MacGregor, Jr. 1985. INTEGRATION OF THE ARMED FORCES 1940-1965. World War II: The Navy. A Segregated Navy. Archived 2010-06-08 at the Wayback Machine
- "Lester B. Granger." Chicago Daily Defender (Daily Edition) (1960-1973): 11. 2 October 1961. ProQuest. Feb. 6, 2016.
- "Civil Rights Leader Dies". The Times. Shreveport, Louisiana. January 11, 1976. p. 12. Retrieved July 31, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Registration required (help)).
- "Two Black Leaders Fallen". The Tennessean. February 7, 1976. p. 7. Retrieved July 31, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Registration required (help)).
- Social Justice Awards. Dartmouth. Accessed 6 February 2016.