- Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
International Civil Rights: Walk of Fame
John Jacob
John Edward Jacob
1934 - present

John Jacob served for twelve years (1984-1992) as CEO of the National Urban League. In that position, he articulated and implemented a comprehension plan for the organization that included a focus on self-help while also tapping the private business sector to fund initiatives for underserved communities. His accomplishments included the establishment of a youth-development program; an emphasis on teen pregnancy reduction; assistance for single, female heads of households; programs to combat crime in black communities; and initiatives to increase black voter registration. Jacob's career in the National Urban League included directing offices in San Diego, and Washington, D.C. In 1965, Jacob became director of education and youth incentives at the Washington Urban League, his first position in the organization. After the racial rebellions of the summer of 1967, he oversaw the creation of Project Alert in the nation's capital. Under his leadership, the civil rights organization's Washington office recruited and prepared inner city youths to become community advocates. In 1994, after a twenty-nine year career in the Urban League, Jacob joined Anheuser-Bush Companies as Vice President and Chief Communications Officer.

John Jacob is the son of Baptist minister Emory Jacob and his wife Claudia. After the family moved to Houston, Texas, Emory Jacob worked in carpentry and construction to supplement the small income he received from his church. Young John was a smart, well-mannered student. In 1957 Jacob received a bachelor's degree in economics from Howard University in Washington, D.C. He spent a brief period in the U.S. Army where he achieved the rank of second lieutenant. After military service he worked for the U.S. Post Office in Washington, D.C. before becoming a social worker in Baltimore, Maryland. He went on to earn a Master's degree from Howard University.

Jacob is chairman emeritus of the Howard University Board of Trustees and is the recipient of 19 honorary doctoral degrees.