Johnson, Thomas A. "Whitney Young, Ending Silence, Condemns War."
New York Times, October 14, 1969. P. 24.
Whitney Young, director of the National Urban League, who had previously refrained from taking
a stand against the war (citing African-American soldiers accomplishments towards fighting for
equality through their show of patriotism) came out against the war in 1969 using words that
echoed the concerns of Martin Luther King two and a half years earlier:
"I am totally convinced that this war has an extra dimension for black people that it does
not have for many whites. We are suffering doubly. We are dying for something abroad that
we do not have at home. At the same time, we are victims of backlash among the white majority
-- a backlash greatly sharpened by the tensions of the war. By a strange twist of human folly,
the groups that are most at odds in our country today -- whites and blacks from working class
and poor families -- are those whose young men are dying in disproportionate
numbers in Vietnam."
Elsewhere Whitney Young (who had twice traveled to Vietnam himself, once to visit
African-American troops and another time to monitor elections) stated that the United
States must end the war if it is:
"to win credibility as a democracy in the eyes of the world -- especially the nonwhite world.
The agony of Vietnam has twisted America's soul. It has created a disastrous drain on our
national resources -- economic, human and spiritual. Millions go to bed hungry in America
every night. Our black ghettos are wastelands. The urgent needs of our rural black people
remain shamefully neglected. Our young people -- black and white -- are in revolt. We must
turn away from Vietnam. We must terminate this war as soon as possible. We must pour our
vital resources back into our own land, our own cities, our own people."
Roy Innis, director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) when told of Young's change of
position was quoted as saying, "Welcome home, baby."