(Extensions of Remarks - April 26, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E575-E576]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                         HON. CHARLES B. RANGEL

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                         Friday, April 26, 2013

  Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Speaker today I rise to honor the Union League Club 
on their 150th Anniversary. Founded in 1863 the Union League Club of 
New York has built, over ensuing years, a record of distinguished 
service to our country. The club dates its founding from February 6, 
1863, during the Civil War. Tensions were running high in New York City 
at the time, as much of the city's governing class, as well as its 
large Irish immigrant population, bitterly opposed the war and were 
eager to reach some kind of accommodation with the Confederate States 
of America. Thus, pro-Union men chose to form their own club, with the 
twin goals of cultivating ``a profound national devotion'' and to 
``strengthen a love and respect for the Union.''
  The New York League was founded by four prominent professionals and 
intellectuals: Henry Adams Bellows, Frederick Law Olmsted, George 
Templeton Strong, and Oliver Wolcott Gibbs. The men, all members of the 
United States Sanitary Commission, desired to strengthen the Nation and 
the national identity. They first aimed to recruit a coalition of 
moneyed professionals like themselves. Strong believed that the club 
would only thrive with a respectable catalogue of moneyed men. Olmsted 
especially wanted to recruit the new generation of young wealthy men, 
so that the club might teach them the obligations and duties of the 
elite upper class. Members of the Union League Club were instrumental 
in establishing The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1870 as well as the 
Sanitary Commission, a predecessor organization to the American Red 
Cross. It helped erect the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor and the 
Lincoln Monument in Union Square. Its members were instrumental in 
bringing down the ``Boss'' Tweed ring and in raising funds to outfit 
American soldiers in several conflicts. Many prominent civic, state and 
national leaders have enjoyed the fellowship of the ULC. Theodore 
Roosevelt managed his early political career from the Club's chambers. 
J. Pierpont Morgan.
  The Union League Club played an instrumental role in civil rights, as 
the club decided to recruit, train and equip a Colored infantry 
regiment for Union service. The 20th U.S. Colored Infantry was formed 
on Riker's Island in February 1864. The next month, it marched from the 
Union League Club, down Canal Street and over to the Hudson River piers 
to embark for duty in Louisiana. In spite of numerous threats, the 
members of the Union League Club marched with the men of the 20th, and 
saw them off. During World War I, the club sponsored the 369th 
Infantry, the famed Harlem Hellfighters, which was commanded by William 
Hayward, a club member. During Reconstruction, Union Leagues were 
formed all across the South. They mobilized freedmen to register to 
vote. They discussed political issues, promoted civic projects, and 
mobilized workers opposed to segregationist white employers. Most 
branches were segregated but there were a few that were racially 
integrated. The leaders of the all-black units were mostly urban Blacks 
from the North, who had never been slaves. Black League members were 
special targets of the Ku Klux Klan's violence and intimidation, so the 
Leagues organized informal armed defense units.
  Today The Union League is a social club providing its members and 
guests with a quiet sanctuary and relief from the hustle of the city. 
The Club bestows two annual awards for two of its most prominent 
members: The Abraham Lincoln Literary Award to outstanding American 
authors, and the Theodore Roosevelt American Experience Award to 
individuals who have ``enriched the American experience.'' The Union 
League Club has stood for the betterment of American society for 150 
years and speaks volumes on the character and dedication one must 
possess to truly change history. Founded in justice and equality the 
Union League Club been a champion of civil rights, and has made its 
goal to not only enhance politics but to improve the quality of life, a 
trait that is well represented through the Union League's illustrious 
  Mr. Speaker I ask that you and my distinguished colleagues join me in 
celebrating this momentous occasion and honor the Union

[[Page E576]]

League Club for 150 remarkable years of its service and dedication to 
our great Nation.