Our Mission

The mission of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League (MWUL) is to empower people of color to achieve economic self-reliance, parity and civil rights.

The MWUL envisions a community where people, from a wide array of backgrounds and experiences, contribute to and benefit from an alliance that is committed to action-oriented public policy research and principled advocacy. The MWUL seeks to address the problems of equity and fairness by assuring that those who influence change represent the broader community and understands the economic and social realities facing people of color.

Our Values

The Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League is guided by our values:

  • Equity: We believe in the elimination of policies, practices, attitudes and cultural messages that reinforce differential outcomes according to race and socioeconomic status.
  • Advocacy: Through research and public education, we believe in using the influence of our legacy to ensure communities are represented in conversations and policies that impact their lives.
  • Inclusion: We believe empowerment is only possible when the inherent worth and dignity of all people are recognized.
  • Community: We believe that sustainability is only achieved through intentional collaboration with our partner agencies and communities.


Activate your MWUL membership to allow access to our many other sub-organizations and be part of something meaningful! All educational, ethnic and religious backgrounds are welcome.

Our Legacy

James H. Gilliam, Sr.

Celebrating a lifetime of commitment (1920-2015)

James H. Gilliam, Sr. received his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology in 1948 from Morgan State College in Baltimore, MD, his Masters of Social Work in 1950 from Howard University’s School of Social Work in Washington, DC. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army until 1952 ultimately receiving the Bronze Star Medal, Oak Leaf Cluster for his services.

In 1952 he began his career in housing as a Management Aide for the Housing Authority of Baltimore City, Maryland. In 1965 he came to Delaware to serve as the Director of Neighborhood and Housing Services for the Greater Wilmington Development Council. Over the years, Mr. Gilliam’s experience led him to become the Director of New Castle County’s Department of Community Development & Housing until his retirement in March 1990.

Mr. Gilliam continued to bring his experience, humor and common sense not only to the housing arena but to all of Delaware. A few examples of the results of his service to the community are shown by the honors that have been bestowed upon him, such as:

  • Chairman, Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, June 1999 – Present
  • Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, University of Delaware 1999
  • Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Delaware State University 2004
  • National Ambassador Award, 1985, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials
  • State Ambassador Award, 1985, Middle Atlantic Regional Conference, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials
  • Doctor of Business Administration (Honorary), Goldey Beacom College, Delaware, 1990
  • Fair Housing Award – 1988, Housing Opportunities of Northern Delaware
  • Recipient of the JOSIAH MARVEL CUP AWARD 1994, Delaware State Chamber of Commerce
  • MBNA Crozier Award, July 2001
  • MBNA 2001 Excellence in Community Service Award
  • SBA Minority Small Business Advocate Award, 2001
  • National Urban League Whitney Young Award, February 2002
  • Christina Cultural Arts Center, Christi Award, April 2002