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Kenneth Crooks, Jr. Collection

Identifier: MC 151

Scope and Contents

The Kenneth Crooks Jr. Collection consists of one linear foot of material which documents the life and career of the Urban League ambassador. The first series and least voluminous, Personal, comprises 1 linear foot of material. Included is the autobiography of Nella Edgar Crooks and brief biographical profiles of Kenneth Crooks and Kenneth Crooks Jr. Series two, Metro Columbus Urban League, contains 1 linear foot of materials which document Crooks tenure with both the Urban League in Broward County, Florida and in Columbus, Georgia. Much of the material in this series chronicles the Urban League's commitment to diversity. Series three, Urban League: On Location, contains 2 linear feet of VHS video cassette recordings of the show Urban League: On Location hosted by Kenneth Crooks Jr.


  • 1996 - 2002

Biographical / Historical

Kenneth Crooks, Jr. was born in Boston, Massachusetts where his father, Kenneth Crooks, Sr., had completed the PhD. Program in zoology from Harvard. Kenneth Crooks, Sr. would soon take a position at Hampton Institute as Professor of Biology. The Crooks remained in Virginia for fourteen years until the call of their native island of Jamaica became too irresistible. With assistance from the American Friends Board of Missions, the Crooks were able to fulfill their longing and return to Jamaica. Kenneth Crooks Sr. had accepted a position as Headmaster of Happy Grove School and was to be the Pastor of Seaside Friends Church. Life in Jamaica provided a lasting impression on Kenneth Crooks Jr. Although the Crooks where very well educated, the family did without many common luxuries such as hot water. Ken Jr would remain in Jamaica until he graduated from Happy Grove under the tutelage of his father in 1951. Soon after graduation, Ken Jr. embarked upon his own personal journey of self discovery. Ken literally worked his way up the eastern seacoast with his destination being the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Among many of Ken's accomplishments while at Amherst was the fact that he was a fairly good football (soccer) player, earning an All New England status. Academically Ken was an average student and he would eventually complete his degree in Management in 1957. However, Ken's learning did not confine itself to playing field or the class room. While he was receiving in BA in Management, Ken received his Ph.D. in racism. Ken's experience with race and place in American society was an eye-opening experience that would be the seedbed of his commitment to better the life of everyone. The next stop in Ken Crooks journey took him to a short military stint in the US Army. After being honorably discharged Ken settled in Atlanta, Georgia in 1961. Ken attended Atlanta University and received his MBA in Administration in 1962. While studying for his graduate degree Ken served as President of the student body. His position allowed him to come into contact with many of the states civil rights leaders and activists such as Julian Bond and Herschel Sullivan. Although Ken did not do much protesting, the movement left a lasting effect upon him. Ken's concept of the American Dream had been turned on its ear. Ken came face to face with the disjunction between the stated lofty ideals of the American Creed and the reality of the second-class status of African Americans and other minorities. In short, Ken had discovered what Gunner Myrdal had labeled the American Dilemma. Ken's philosophy and direction in life soon changed. No longer consumed with the pursuit of wealth, Ken became a devoted advocate of eradicating social and economic injustices. The Urban League became the vehicle that would allow Ken to devote his life to the task of providing service leadership on a national, regional and local level. Ken Crooks has been affiliated with the Urban League ever since his days in Atlanta. He has held 19 different titles, among them was the President and CEO of the Metro Columbus Urban League in Columbus, Georgia. The Urban League was born in Columbus in 1971 when the city faced its most pressing racial situation. The Urban League was brought in to sooth the tension and promote diversity by eliminating racism and discrimination. In 1993, Ken Crooks arrived in Columbus and continued the mission of the Urban League.


5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Donated by Kenneth Crooks, Jr. October 2002.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Columbus State University Archives and Special Collections Repository

4225 University Ave
Columbus Georgia 31907 United States