Revival of National Black Power Conference Starts Today in Marietta

Marcus E. Howard, Marietta (Georgia) Daily, May 22, 2009

The three-day National Black Power conference will be conducted in Marietta beginning today at the Crown Plaza Hotel at 1775 Parkway Place near the intersection of Interstate 75 and S. Marietta Parkway.

It is the first time the conference has been convened in 35 years, according to the New Black Panther Party, which is organizing the event. The conference is expected to draw black nationalists and activists from around the country together.

The purpose is to set an agenda to deal with concerns and problems impacting black Americans, such as education and health care, said Minister Hashim Nzinga, the Washington, D.C.-based national chief of staff of the New Black Panther Party.

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Among the keynote speakers are Southern Christian Leadership Conference former President Dr. Charles Steele; Dr. Leonard Jeffries Jr. of City College of New York; and attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz, chairman of the New Black Panther Party.

The conference’s schedule includes a variety of workshops on such issues as police brutality, hip hop music, gangs and reparations, as well as a tribute to the late Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad.

Marietta was largely chosen as the conference site because the Crown Plaza Hotel is black-owned by businessman Mike Roberts, said Nzinga.

“We didn’t want to do a black power conference at a white-owned hotel,” he said.

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While the conference’s sponsors such as the New Black Panther Party and Black Lawyers for Justice, as well as some of the speakers, are controversial and have even been labeled by critics as hate groups, Nzinga said the event is meant to unify different organizations to create an agenda for action.

He said the election of the nation’s first black president presented the perfect time to revive the event. {snip}

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