Members of the National Council of Churches’ General Board climaxed a turbulent triennium when they agreed to the council’s response to the Black Manifesto. Their two-day September session in Indianapolis was the last meeting of the policymakers before they gather at Detroit in late November on the eve of the NCC’s triennial General Assembly.
The board members pledged to raise $500,000 immediately and to propose a plan to the assembly for seeking “tens of millions of dollars” for black economic development. The Marott Hotel’s ballroom was crowded during an afternoon of debate over the proposal.
The Black Economic Development Conference (BEDC)—made famous by James Forman’s disruption of church offices and events—was not named as a recipient of the initial contribution, but the funds will go to two organizations known to be friendly conduits. The solution, skirting direct funding of the BEDC but financing black churchmen who support it, was similar to that adopted earlier last month by the Episcopal Church (see September 26 issue, pages 37 and 42).
An executive-committee report hammered out since Forman’s May address to the board was approved, including its rejection of the manifesto’s ideology. However, the council policy makers acknowledged the BEDC as a “programmatic expression of the aspirations of black churchmen.” The document also said: “The Black Economic Development Conference is a new agency among those agencies in the black community directed toward the achievement of economic justice for the deprived peoples of this land.”
President Arthur S. Flemming, who presented the executive-committee report, stressed that board members were ...1
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