This Day in Black History: July 20, 1967

The first national Black Power conference opened in Newark, N.J.

Posted: 07/20/2012 10:45 AM EDT
Black Power Conference

(Photo: The Encyclopedia of African-American Heritage by Susan Altman)

More than a thousand people from a wide array of community organizations and other groups convened in Newark on July 20, 1967, to discuss the most pressing issues of the day facing African-Americans at the first national Black Power Conference.

It was one of the largest such gatherings of Black leaders, with representatives of nearly 300 organizations and institutions from 126 cities in 26 states, Bermuda and Nigeria. The conference held workshops, presented papers for specific programs and developed more than 80 resolutions calling for emphasis of Black power in political, economic and cultural affairs.

Only one resolution, a Black Power Manifesto, won official approval, but others were adopted in “in spirit.” The Manifesto condemned “neo-colonialist control” of Black populations worldwide and called for the circulation of a “philosophy of Blackness” that would unite and direct African-Americans.

Nathan Wright Jr. was the conference chairman, and workshop coordinators included Ossie Davis, James Farmer, Hoyt Fuller, Nathan Hare, Maulana Ron Karenga, Cleveland Sellers and Chuck Stone.

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