Price, Hugh B(ernard) 1941-
PRICE, Hugh B(ernard) 1941-
Born November 22, 1941, in Washington, DC; son of Kline Armond, Sr. (a physician), and Charlotte (a homemaker and career volunteer; maiden name, Schuster) Price; married Marilyn Lloyd, December 29, 1963; children: Traer, Janeen, Lauren. Education: Amherst College, B.A., 1963; Yale University Law School, LL.B., 1966.
Home—21 Trenor Drive, New Rochelle, NY 10804.
Admitted to the Connecticut Bar, 1966; New Haven Legal Assistance Association, neighborhood attorney, 1966-68; Black Coalition of New Haven, executive director, 1968-70; Cogen, Holt & Associates, partner, 1970-76; City of New Haven, Human Resources Administration, director, 1977-78; New York Times Editorial Board, 1978-82; WNET/Thirteen TV, New York, NY, senior vice president, 1982-88; Rockefeller Foundation, vice president, 1988-94; National Urban League, president and chief executive officer, 1994-2003. Board of Directors, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense and Education Fund, 1986-88; assistant counsel, Urban Renewal Agency, New Haven Redevelopment Agency; served on board of Education Testing Service; member, boards of directors, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Verizon Wireless, Sears Roebuck, Mayo Clinic Foundation, Committee for Economic Development; keynote lecturer at National Press Club, Fortune 500 Forum, Detroit Economic Club, Los Angeles Urban League, others; guest on television shows, including Crossfire, Meet the Press, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Charlie Rose, and Today Show.
American Philosophical Society, NAACP, Council on Foreign Relations, Academy of Political Science, Century Association, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Rockefeller Brothers Fund of New York City (trustee, 1987-88), Municipal Art Society of New York City (trustee, 1990—), Public Development Corporation of New York City (trustee, 1991—), Boulé, Westchester Clubmen.
Honorary degrees, Yale University, Amherst College, and others; Yale University Law School Medal of Honor; Hunter College President's Medal; Distinguished Service Award, Council of Chief State School Officers, 2000.
The Role of the Urban League Movement in Overcoming Inner-City Poverty: Challenges for the Twenty-first Century, William Monroe Trotter Institute Occasional Paper, number 32, William Monroe Trotter Institute, University of Massachusetts (Boston, MA), 1995.
Education Accountability: Saving Schools—and Students, edited by Lee A. Daniels, National Urban League (Long Prairie, MN), 1999.
To Be Equal, edited by Lee A. Daniels, National Urban League (New York, NY), 1999, published as To Be Equal: A Look at Our Nation, 2001.
Destination: The American Dream, National Urban League (New York, NY), 2001.
Achievement Matters: Getting Your Child the Best Education Possible, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor to numerous magazines and periodicals, including New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Education Week, Review of Black Political Economy, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Phi Delta Kappan, and Chronicle of Higher Education. Author of weekly syndicated column "To Be Equal" and of weekly radio commentary.
A lifelong advocate for the inner-city poor, for racial harmony, and for improved education and youth development, attorney Hugh B. Price served for nine years as president and chief executive officer of the National Urban League before resigning in 2003. In addition to numerous articles, speeches, and a weekly newspaper column, "To Be Equal," Price has written four books on the subjects of overcoming poverty and maximizing education for American children.
Price grew up in a middle-class family in Washington, D.C., where his father was a physician. He attended segregated schools until 1953, when his parents moved him to Georgetown Day School, along with other African American families who supported integration. The following year, Price was among the first black students to attend integrated schools in Washington, D.C. Throughout his high school and college career, he was one of only a handful of black students in his classes.
Price began working with teens in an antipoverty program while a law student at Yale University. After an early legal career in New Haven, Connecticut, he branched out into urban affairs and human resources before accepting a position as an editorial writer for the New York Times, where he wrote about education and domestic policy. In 1982, Price accepted a position at WNET/Thirteen, New York's public television station, and the nation's largest. In his six years as senior vice president, Price helped to bring about such notable programming as American Masters, Childhood, The Mind, and Art of the Western World. In 1984 he became director of national programming, helping to develop the series Nature and Great Performances.
In 1988, Price became vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation, where he helped to launch the successful National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Corps, the Coalition of Community Foundations for Youth, and the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future.
As president of the National Urban League, Price revived an ailing organization and reintroduced its mission to the nation. He helped to triple its endowment and reorganize its board of directors and staff. Price was also responsible for launching the Campaign for African-American Achievement; establishing the National Urban League Institute for Opportunity and Equality; reviving the league's magazine, Opportunity; and helping to set up its new headquarters on Wall Street in New York City. He also initiated the Achievement Matters public service campaign and the National Achievers Society for black students.
In a speech delivered early in his tenure with the National Urban League, Price established the new goals of ending separatism of African Americans and recognizing that poor schools, troubled young people, and high unemployment affect all races. He called on African Americans who could afford to, to donate money to help pay for programs for inner-city youth.
Speaking to the Detroit Economic Club in 1996, Price told the story of America's blue-collar urban workers whose employers moved factories overseas or replaced workers with technology, leaving once-prosperous families in poverty. He spoke about the so-called working homeless, who are left out of the loop in America's economic boom. He also spoke about welfare reform, which would put thousands of mothers and children on the streets because there are not enough jobs to go around. In a 1994 interview with Gayle Pollard Terry of the Los Angeles Times, Price said, "This country is in deep denial about whether or not we create enough jobs. The labor market in the inner city is broken." In the Detroit speech, Price recommended creating jobs by hiring the poor to make urban infrastructure improvements. He warned about the growing resentment of the underprivileged and the danger that the economic gap could undermine American democracy and civil society.
Price's main objectives in his work with the Urban League have been job training for the poor and better education and guidance for youth. Price has long been an advocate of better education, through parental involvement, teacher development and higher pay, after-school programs, and a national commitment to using public funds for public education. The Urban League's motto has been Our Children = Our Destiny. In an article for the Phi Delta Kappan, Mark F. Goldberg quoted Price as asking, "How can states hold children responsible for higher standards with a straight face if they can't guarantee the higher-quality education that must go with those standards?" In November 1990, according to the article, Price made the prescient statement that, "Some day, frustrated corporations, worried about where their workers will come from, and exasperated parents, fed up with unresponsive school systems, just might join forces on behalf of such truly radical reform [as vouchers]."
In his 2002 book, Achievement Matters: Getting Your Child the Best Education Possible, Price focuses on everyday working-class parents as their child's first teacher and on ways they can encourage children up to the third grade to value education as its own reward. The book instructs parents on ways to become involved with their child's teachers, administrators, and school system. Price lists benchmarks for achievement at each grade level and stresses the importance of enrolling in challenging classes. He also offers ideas for provision of the latest technology in schools and for after-school programs that shelter children from involvement with gangs and drugs. Price advocates parents' reading to their children each day as one of the most important activities for building the literacy skills they need. He also writes about reliance on "mother wit," or parental instinct in knowing what is best for a child. The philosophy in Price's book is based on the Urban League's Campaign for African-American Achievement.
Leroy Hommerding, in Library Journal, called Achievement Matters a "valuable resource" that educators can use to help parents partner in their children's success. A Publishers Weekly contributor found that the book provides "a plan for parents to inspire their children to achieve."
In a "To Be Equal" column, Price wrote, "Education is the great equalizer of American society. It unlocks the doors to children's futures." In an article for USA Today, Tamara Henry quoted Price as saying, "If we allow our young people to grow up believing that academic achievement is above them, beneath them or beside the point, then we've failed them as parents and as a society. It's the mission in life of anyone who has created life to equip children for success through education."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
African American Almanac, 8th edition, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1999.
LoDico, John, "Hugh B. Price," Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 9, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1995.
Emerge, December-January, 1997, Lottie L. Joiner, "Price Fixing," interview with Hugh B. Price, p. 36.
Fortune, August 4, 1997, Roy S. Johnson, "'There Is Opportunity and There Is Action,' conversation with Hugh Price of the National Urban League," p. 67.
Jet, June 13, 1994, "Hugh Price Named President and Chief Executive of National Urban League," p. 26.
Library Journal, October 1, 2002, Leroy Hommerding, review of Achievement Matters: Getting Your Child the Best Education Possible, p. 112.
Los Angeles Times, July 3, 1994, Gayle Pollard Terry, "Hugh Price: Rebuilding the Urban League and the Inner City, as Well," p. M3.
Phi Delta Kappan, April, 2000, Mark F. Goldberg, "Committed to High-Quality Education for All Children: An Interview with Hugh Price," p. 604.
Publishers Weekly, August 5, 2002, "American Parenting," review of Achievement Matters: Getting Your Child the Best Education Possible, p. 67.
Vital Speeches, January 15, 1995, Hugh B. Price, "Public Discourse: Our Very Fate as a Civil Society Is at Stake," p. 213; March 1, 1996, Hugh B. Price, "Cities: The Soul of America: Make America Work for All Americans," p. 293.
Council of Chief State School Officers,http://www.ccsso.org/ (October 27, 2000), Billie Rollins and Kathleen Seiler Neary, "Hugh B. Price to Receive the Council of Chief State School Officers' 2000 Distinguished Service Award."
Los Angeles Urban League,http://www.laul.org/ (May 6, 2003), "Hugh B. Price, President and Chief Executive Officer."
National Urban League,http://www.nul.org/ (June 17, 2002), Hugh B. Price, "Our Necessary Credo: Achievement Matters"; (May 6, 2003), Rosario Peters, "About Us: Hugh B. Price, President and Chief Executive Officer"; (March 28, 2003), "American Express, Pitney Bowes and Bank of America Spearhead Farewell Tribute to National Urban League President Hugh B. Price."
USA Today Online,http://usatoday.com/ (August 21, 2002), Tamara Henry, "Play a Big Role in Education."*