Session #6

Tuesday, August 10, 7 – 9 pm
Topic: “The New Black Agenda”


African Americans started convening and crafting collective political agendas to advance black interests as early as the 1830s. Free blacks who organized these pioneering ventures spoke on behalf of all blacks, enslaved and free. The agendas they crafted focused attention on the grievances and aspirations of the black community. These national conventions continued to meet periodically well into the 1970s.

The most dynamic modern convention took place in Gary, Indiana, in 1972 when over 10,000 delegates gathered at the peak of the Black Power era to chart a new independent black political agenda. IBW drafted “The Gary Declaration,” the issues document around which the Convention’s working sessions were structured. With additions and revisions, it became the National Black Agenda of 1972. This session discusses contemporary black agendas against the backdrop of the Gary Declaration.


Video: Trailer of “Nationtime,” a documentary history of the Gary Convention by Bill Greaves, 1972

Reading: Excerpts from the Gary Declaration

Poetry performance: “What We Want” by Ras Baraka

Panel discussion with panelists Michael Simanga and representatives from Color of Change and Black Futures; moderated by William Dorsey.