Monday, November, 19, 1956, saw the inauguration by the National Urban League of the annual Equal Opportunity Day, timed to coincide with the 93rd anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address.

The day before, Sunday, November 18, the very Reverend James A. Pike, Dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, delivered an address, based on the theme of equal opportunity to a nationwide audience over ABC television.

The Equal Opportunity Day Dinner began the next year, in 1957, when the Equal Opportunity Awards were presented for the first time to two outstanding individuals, who had made significant contributions to equal opportunity. This tradition has been adopted by local Urban League Affiliates across the country to honor local leaders who have worked in their communities to insure equal opportunity for all.

The purpose of the Equal Opportunity Day is to urge all Americans from all sectors of our society to rededicate themselves to the affirmation of their belief that “all men are created equal” and to pledge their allegiance to the fulfillment of the American democratic ideal.

Equal Opportunity Day, is therefore, consonant with the Leagues’ mission “to enable blacks and other minority group members to cultivate and exercise their full human potential on par with other Americans.” The Urban League movement is proud to provide national leadership on this day each year, in rallying citizens everywhere to make equality of opportunity a living fact.

The Urban League of Union County, since 1970 has set aside this day to focus attention on what has been done to demonstrate the effectiveness of our programs and services which we have provided as we work to achieve the goals of equal opportunity.