“The Powerbroker”: Understanding people and power

As Black History Month draws to a close, the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga is asking the Scenic City to consider a figure central to the black community’s evolution in the 20th century.

The organization, in partnership with WTCI and GreenSpaces, will screen the film “The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights” on Thursday, Feb. 21 at GreenSpaces’ Main Street address at 6 p.m.

The documentary, which was produced by Young’s niece, reporter Bonnie Boswell Hamilton, examines the life and work of the leader of the National Urban League in the civil rights era. It debuted recently as part of PBS’ Independent Lens Series.

“With it being Black History Month, you tend to hear about the same people who made great contributions, but Whitney is one of the people you rarely hear about,” said James McKissic, chief operating officer of the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga. “It is our privilege and opportunity to be able to offer the documentary to the community, so people can learn more about one of the unsung heroes of black history.”

“The Powerbroker” features a variety of voices and formats, including interviews, archival footage, home movies and audio tapes of Young himself to piece together the narrative of a man who began in rural and segregated Kentucky and achieved some of the most important progress of the civil rights movement from within his own community and the seats of American power.

Young took direct and unique approaches to the business and political angles of change and, through those avenues, affected economic and historical impact. He even served as an adviser to presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.

A reception, starting at 5:30, will precede the screening. 

GreenSpaces is located at 63 E. Main St. Reserve a seat by emailing [email protected].