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Sterling Tucker of the D.C. Urban League: 1970 | by Washington Area Spark
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Sterling Tucker of the D.C. Urban League: 1970

Sterling Tucker is shown in a January 1970 photograph during the time that the D.C. Black United Front was formed.


Tucker was head of the D.C. chapter of the Urban League from 1956-74 who stepped down when he won chair of the newly elected city council, serving one term. He ran for mayor in 1978 but lost the Democratic Primary to Marion Barry.


Tucker, as head of the local Urban League, wanted to join the BUF but was told to hold off on any organizational affiliation by the national office.


The national organization briefly relented and Tucker accepted a position on the steering committee before being barred by Urban League altogether. Tucker stopped attending meeting in July 1968 and was eventually expelled from the organization for deliberate non-participation.


The Urban League under Tucker was more progressive than most and played a key role in the hiring, upgrading and promotion of black workers through organizing task forces to oppose racism in both government agencies and private sector businesses and supporting them with staff.


The most prominent was the umbrella group Government Employees United Against Racial Discrimination (GUARD) that had task forces in 16 federal agencies and two District of Columbia Departments—sanitation and fire--and had about 1,500 dues paying members. About 1,100 of those were federal employees.


Tucker died in July 2019 at the age of 95 in Washington, D.C.


For more information and related images, see


Photo by Wellner Streets. The image is cropped from a larger image and is courtesy of the D.C. Public Library Washington Star Collection © Washington Post.


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Taken on January 5, 1970