Sixty years ago when the National Baptist Convention, U. S. A., Incorporated, last held its annual meeting in New Orleans, accommodations were none too good. Hotels barred blacks, and delegates of the Negro denomination stayed in small rooming houses and homes of local parishioners. But the late Dr. E. C. Morris, then president of what is now the nation’s largest black organization, pledged that the convention would someday again be held in the Crescent City.
That promise was fulfilled last month when about 15,000 delegates of the 6.3-million-member church met there for its ninetieth annual session. In the words of the National Baptist Convention’s present president and American patriot, Dr. Joseph H. Jackson, New Orleans was “ready for us now. … Old barriers are broken down. You recognize us as American citizens dedicated to the nation and loyal to the flag. And living in obedience to the federal Constitution.” Innkeepers were more accommodating in 1970—for a price. Delegates complained single-room rates of $29 to $35 a night were common.
Patriotism, the Constitution, and youth were focal points of the six-day gathering at the Rivergate Auditorium on the banks of the Mississippi.
The affable Jackson (who doesn’t tell his age) and the other chief officers were returned to office by delegate acclaim. Jackson, beginning his eighteenth year as president, shows no signs of losing his firm grip on the denomination or of mollifying his outspoken stand for Christ and country.
In his annual address he lashed at those who lack faith in America, proposing that they be isolated: “If necessary, allow them to run their affairs in a walled city or a separate community. Our society should be ...1
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