The Black Leadership Family Plan, introduced by national Black leaders in 1981, by Congressman Walter Fauntroy, District of Columbia representative, is a set of rules for Black Unity, Survival and Progress by which the total Black community and all of its components and individual members can participate in our continual efforts to control our own destiny. The National Black Leadership Roundtable and the Black Leadership Forum were charged with the operational responsibility for implementation of the Plan nationwide. This movement for state Black Leadership Roundtables recalls an earlier day when Frederick Douglass issued a call for state conventions to press for the abolition of slavery and for “Negro Suffrage”. Indeed, state organizations have been part of the strategy for Black empowerment since the earliest days of our presence in this country.
Heeding the call to action, seven individuals took the charge to begin a state Black Leadership Roundtable in New Jersey. These individuals were Rev. Edward A. Allen, Arnold Hamm, Jerome C. Harris, Jr., Margaret Hayes, Kathy L. Spivey, Donald K. Tucker and Earl Williams. In 1982, New Jersey Black Issues Convention was born.
The purpose of New Jersey Black Issues Convention is to present a possible avenue for enhancing opportunities for the ongoing exchange of information among predominantly Black political, religious, social, business, veteran, student, labor, civil rights, academic or professional statewide organizations via a structured network. New Jersey Black Issues Convention was established to discuss critical issues affecting the community; provide a regular exchange of information among the leaders of black organizations statewide; make possible opportunities and resources to meet the changing needs of the community; develop and carry out an action plan that will have impact on policy and practices beneficial to the future welfare of the community it serves; and work in unison with local, state and national agencies that are performing functions to assist in the areas of health, education, economic development, social and job placement (career orientation) needs.
To this day, New Jersey Black Issues Convention is the only operational Black leadership roundtable organization in the United States birthed from the Black Leadership Family Plan. New Jersey Black Issues Convention hosts several events throughout the year, including its Annual Black Legislative Conference and its Annual Black Leadership Conference, which was instituted in its second year of operation.