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Interesting Facts About the 1972 National Black Political (Assembly) Convention

National Black Political Assembly in Gary, Indiana

In March 1972, delegates from around the United States, and beyond, held the first National Black Political Assembly in Gary, Indiana to create an agenda for fundamental change, including increased representation, more black politicians in office, and advocacy for black communities in crisis.
Here are some interesting facts that you probably don't know about the convention:

1. Over 8,000 Delegates Attended

They came from all across the United States and even as far away as the Caribbean. Convention organizers managed to get the word out without the help of modern technology like the internet and social media.

2. Black Delegates Put Aside Political Differences

The NBPA was attended not only by Republicans and Democrats but by members of parties such as Socialists, Nationalists, and Black Panthers. All came together in the spirit of "unity without conformity" to discuss ways to combat racially based social and economic crisis. They did, however, exclude white delegates, a policy to which NAACP executive director Roy Wilkins objected.

3. Prominent Civil Rights Leaders Were Present

Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan were in attendance, as were House Representative Charles Diggs Jr. and the widows of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.

4. The First Black Mayor Played Host

Gary mayor Richard Hatcher was the first black mayor of a major city in America. Hatcher helped to organize the convention, and when other cities declined to host it, he suggested Gary as the site.

5. Gary Only Had One Hotel

The city did not have enough accommodations for all the delegates, so Gary residents hosted some in their homes, while others stayed in nearby Chicago.