Loyola University Chicago

Center for Urban Research and Learning

Past Scholar

Kale Williams

Title/s:  CURL Senior Scholar in Residence


After serving in the Navy during World War II, Kale Williams became a pacifist and a tenacious advocate for human rights and nonviolent social change. He joined the Chicago office of the American Friends Service Committee, where he challenged racial segregation and helped address injustice in Chicago’s low-income communities, the need for assistance to Native Americans in the Southwest, famine relief in the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, and opposition to the Vietnam War. 

In Chicago, he worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to secure fair-housing opportunities for all citizens regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or income. After the 1966 open housing marches, Williams co-founded the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities, where he served as executive director for over 20 years. After service there, he was invited to Loyola University Chicago as a visiting professor of applied ethics and later was appointed the senior scholar in residence at Loyola’s Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL). He served in that position for more than 10 years and inspired numerous students and faculty. In addition to teaching and writing, he coordinated the Chicago Freedom Movement 40-year anniversary events, which examined the movement’s legacy and unfulfilled dream of a fully just and inclusive city.

To learn more about Kale, view a video of his reflections on being involved in the Chicago Freedom School.