National Black Political Convention opens next Thursday

by Frederick H. Lowe

The National Policy Alliance, an organization that represents black federal, state and locally elected officials, will host a National Black Political Convention June 9-11 in Gary, Ind., the site of the first convention in 1972.

Linda Haithcox Taylor, NPA executive director, said attendees will focus on seven issues of concern to African Americans that NPA will present to the platform committees of the Republican and Democratic parties.

nbpc2016final_500The seven issues are:  education, energy and the environment, health, economic justice, black veterans, women’s issues and encouraging more blacks to run for office.

The issues will be presented to the Democratic and Republican platform committees before the parties’ conventions. Democrats will meet July 25-28 in Philadelphia. Republicans will meet July 18-21 in Cleveland.

Donald Trump has enough delegate votes to capture the Republican nomination for president and Hillary Clinton is expected to win the Democratic Party’s nomination.

“We want to have a voice in their platforms,” Haithcox Taylor said.

NPA also will reach out to the Libertarian Party, which is predicted to capture 10 percent or more of the popular vote in November’s presidential election.

Member organizations of the NPA are: Blacks in Government, African American Mayors Association, Congressional Black Caucus, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Judicial Council of the National Bar Association, National Association of Black County Officials, National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, National Black Council of School Board Members, National Black Caucus of State Legislators, National Organization of Black County Officials and World Conference of Mayors.

Last Sunday, Libertarians nominated former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson as their presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld as the party’s vice presidential candidate. The Libertarian Party is on the ballot in all 50 states.

The 1972 National Black Political convention grew out of a call by the Congressional Black Caucus to develop a national black agenda, according to Prof. Steven F. Lawson’s book Running for Freedom: Civil Rights and Black Politics in America Since 1941. 

Lawson is a history professor at Rutgers University.

Gary Mayor Richard Hatcher, U.S. Rep. Charles Diggs of Michigan, poet and Black Nationalist Amir Baraka presided over the meetings, which called for increased black congressional representation, community control of schools, a national health insurance program and a guaranteed minimum income.

More than 10,000 people attended the convention, which was held at a high school. Haithcox Taylor declined to make any predictions about the turnout. “We hope to get a healthy number,” she said. Haithcox Taylor wants to video stream the convention, which will be held in the Genesis Convention Center.

Rev. Jesse Jackson of Chicago-based Operation PUSH, and Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network, which is based in New York, are scheduled to speak.



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