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The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights

9 pm Mon, Feb. 18, on WILL-TV

Whitney Young wtih President Lyndon Johnson

Whitney Young with President Lyndon Johnson Photo: Lyndon Baines Johnson Library

Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights, a new documentary about the civil rights leader, was produced by Young’s niece, Emmy Award-winning journalist Bonnie Boswell.

As the executive director of the National Urban League in the 1960s, Whitney Young was one of the few African Americans who had the ear of those who controlled the levers of power: Fortune 500 CEOs, governors, senators and presidents.

He used these relationships to gain better access to employment, education, housing and healthcare for African Americans, other minorities and those in need. His unique position and approach earned him praise, but also scorn from the Black Power movement for being too close to the white establishment. While he is less known today than other leaders of the era because of the behind-the-scenes nature of his work, Young’s legacy and influence are still felt profoundly.