The first scholarly study of a local racial advancement organization, History of the Chicago Urban League provides a detailed history of the Chicago League from its founding in 1916 through the early years of the civil rights movement in the 1960s and relates the work of this agency to broader developments in Chicago and the nation. In his introduction, Christopher Robert Reed, author of The Chicago NAACP and the Rise of Black Professional Leadership, 1910-1966, cites Strickland's work as a landmark study of the earliest civil rights efforts in Chicago.
Strickland begins by tracing the development of the League through the various socioeconomic upheavals of this century and describes its services to the African American community so strongly affected by those events. He examines the methods of the League, its sources of financial support over the years, and the individual efforts and contributions of such dedicated leaders as T. Arnold Hill, Albon L. Foster, Sidney Williams, and Edwin C. Berry.
As he studies the approaches utilized by the Chicago Urban League in adjusting to the challenges resulting from the "Black Revolt," Strickland explores the forces that contributed to the effectiveness of the organization's efforts to improve African American life in Chicago during the 1960s. In a brief preface to this new edition of History of the Chicago Urban League, Strickland recalls his own experience as a young man from small-town Mississippi being immersed in the urbanization of a major American city.