This African-American Life
This African-American Life
Hugh B. Price
In this engaging memoir, Hugh Price, former president and CEO of the National Urban League, recounts his amazing American life and ancestry. “People who believe a problem can be solved tend to get busy solving it,” William Raspberry wrote in the Washington Post in July 1994. “Hugh B. Price is a believer.” During his tenure as president and CEO of the National Urban League, Price launched its Campaign for African-American Achievement, pressured the federal government to combat police brutality and racial profiling, defended affirmative action, and helped repair frayed relations between the black and Jewish communities. Yet his role with the League was just one among many accomplishments. Price traces his forbears, among them Nero Hawley, who fought at Valley Forge under George Washington; George and Rebecca Latimer, who escaped slavery by stowing away on a boat and traveling north as master and slave; and Lewis Latimer, who worked with Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison. Price writes about his childhood in a neighborhood near Howard University in Washington, and his student days in a newly integrated high school and then at Amherst and Yale Law School. He covers his varied and highly successful careers, from his early days as a legal services lawyer to his executive position at the Rockefeller Foundation.“It’s easy to sound radical,” syndicated columnist E. J. Dionne wrote of Price. “By contrast, ideas built on cool reason and the possibility of action often sound moderate. But they can be genuinely radical in their analysis of what’s wrong and of what needs to be done.”
Price has held an array of positions of leadership during his life. After obtaining a B.A. from Amherst College, he graduated from Yale Law School. He began his career as a legal services lawyer representing low-income clients in New Haven, CT. During the turbulent 1960s, he served as the first executive director of the Black Coalition of New Haven. In 1978, he began his position as a member of the editorial board of The New York Times, where he wrote editorials on an array of political issues. He served as senior vice-president of WNET/Thirteen in New York, the nation’s largest public television station and in 1984, became director of all national production. In 1988, he was appointed vice-president of the Rockefeller Foundation, where he was instrumental in launching innovative youth initiatives. From 1994 to 2003, he served as president of the National Urban League. He then served as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and on the faculty of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs at Princeton University. He lives in New Rochelle, NY.