Our Legacy

James H. Gilliam, Sr.

Celebrating a lifetime of commitment (1920-2015)

In 1998, Civil Rights veteran James H. Gilliam, Sr., a former member of the National Urban League’s (NUL) Board of Trustees, was prompted by Mayor James H. Sills to start an Urban League affiliate in Wilmington, Delaware. over the course of just six months, Mr. Gilliam worked with a small group of colleagues and a minority-owned consulting firm, ARISE International, to marshal funding and partnership commitments totaling $1 million. He also assembled a diverse sponsoring committee that included more than 70 community leaders from public, private and nonprofit sectors.

In June 1999, Mr. Gilliam made a formal presentation to the NUL for affiliation. One month later, at the NUL’s Annual Conference in Houston, Texas, the MWUL became the 115th affiliate in the history of the national organization. It remains the fastest launch of any Urban League affiliate in the latter half of the 20th century. Because of Mr. Gilliam’s efforts, the MWUL is poised to continue the NUL’s legacy in the state of Delaware.


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