Document 4: James H. Hubert, Executive Director of New York Urban League, to Margaret Sanger, 16 October 1929, Reel 32, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Document 4: James H. Hubert, Executive Director of New York Urban League, to Margaret Sanger, 16 October 1929, Reel 32, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.


   This letter conveys a resolution passed on 10 October by the Social Workers Club of Harlem asking Sanger to open a clinic in Harlem. Hubert, who had been executive director of the New York Urban League since 1918, was the president of the club in 1929. Sanger had attended the Club's meeting on the 9th of October, at which time she had asked the club to support her plans for the Harlem Branch clinic. It is unclear from surviving records whether Hubert or Sanger initiated this collaborative effort. Perhaps the publicity surrounding the police raid of the CRB led Hubert to renew his acquaintance with Sanger. Sanger and Hubert had collaborated on a birth control clinic five years earlier, when, the year after Sanger opened the Clinical Research Bureau, Hubert approached her about the possibility of opening a clinic in a Black neighborhood.[56] In 1924, Sanger opened a branch location in conjunction with the Urban League in the Columbus Hill neighborhood. However, there were too few patients to keep the clinic open more than a few months.[57] It is also possible Sanger and/or Hubert always intended to open another clinic and the opportunity to fund a new clinic arose when the Rosenwald Fund initiated grants to health care projects in Black communities. Whoever initiated plans for the Harlem clinic, the project fit well with the wider political commitments of both Sanger and Hubert.

   The New York Urban League was an important institution in Harlem in the 1930s. It opened offices in two buildings on 136th Street in 1923. By the 1930s, the league was providing meeting space to almost 100 clubs and organizations, ranging from the Housewives' League and the Boy Scouts to the Henry Street Visiting Nurses Association and the Harlem Tuberculosis and Health Committee. The league also provided adult education and vocational training for working people in the city. Even before the Depression, the league was helping Harlem residents find jobs and providing assistance to workers by challenging racial bias in unions and among employers.[58]

   The Urban League had a close relationship with the Harlem clinic. Hubert and several members of the league's board served on the clinic Advisory Council, including Reverend William Lloyd Imes and Lois Allen. The Urban League proved important to the Harlem Branch clinic several years later when it provided space for the clinic in its building (see Document 34 and Document 35), and the relationship with Hubert, who was very influential in the community, was very important from the beginning. It is clear from this document that Hubert welcomed the clinic and helped Sanger publicize it in its earliest stages of development.

New York Urban League
202-6 West 136th Street
New York

James H. Hubert
Executive Secretary

October 16, 1929

My dear Mrs. Sanger:

   Enclosed please find resolution adopted at a meeting of the Social Workers Club of Harlem, Thursday evening, October 10th, endorsing the idea of a Birth Control Clinic in Harlem

   May I on behalf of the club express again our appreciation of your visit and the information which you gave about the BC League. It is my opinion that no district is more in need of this information than Harlem.

   Again thanking you and with kind regard, I am

Cordially yours,

Signature James H. Hubert

Mrs. Margaret Sanger
46 West Fifteenth Street
New York City.



Adopted By
Social Workers Club of Harlem
Thursday Evening, October 10th 1929

BE IT RESOLVED that this meeting hereby endorses the work of the Birth Control Research Bureau, and that Mrs. Margaret Sanger be invited and urged to establish a Birth Control Clinic somewhere in Harlem accessible to Negro Women.

We pledge ourselves to cooperate in every way possible with those promoting the idea of a Birth Control Clinic.


James H Hubert, President



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