Charles Diggs

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Charles Diggs

National Black Political Convention

Unity June 22, 1984

Mayor Richard Hatcher, Rep. Charles Diggs, Amiri Baraka, Jesse Jackson at the National Black Political Convention, Gary Indiana 1972.


In 1976, during one of the Congressional Black Caucus's annual weekends of glamour and glitter in the nation's capital, CBC members Charles Diggs and Andrew Young convened a meeting of 30 leaders of national Black organizations to challenge the U.S. official policy in Rhodesia. After two days, a policy paper was produced entitled "the Afro-American Manifesto on Southern Africa" calling for democracy in Rhodesia, South Africa and Namibia. Though unofficial, it was adopted and out of that experiment came the idea of establishing an African American foreign policy advocacy organization. Thus TransAfrica Forum was founded.

The CBC along with TransAfrica lobbied vigorously--even against a presidential veto--to get sanctions in place against South Africa, a move which hastened the fall of that apartheid regime and led to the eventual release of Nelson Mandela from prison. The Caucus was, and still is, just as relentless in its fight for human and civil rights, democracy and voting rights, freedom and justice for all disenfranchised Black people in the developing countries including Sudan, Haiti, Cuba and other countries in similar situations.[1]

Cuba trip

According to Portia Siegelbaum, writing in the Communist Party USA's Daily World, Wednesday March 3, 1976 page 4, in late February, the Marxist-Leninist Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola and Angola government officials led a two-dav seminar in Havana to acquaint a large United States delegation with the struggle of the Angolan people.

A day and a half presentation by three Angolan leaders: Commandante Dibala, a member of the MPLA central committee and political commissar of the Eastern Front; Olga Lima, director of political affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Relations; and Pedro Zinga Baptista, a member of the Foreign relations department of the MPLA, was followed by a question and answer period. The MPLA spokesmen affirmed that MPLA doesn't believe that revolutions can be exported, but that it does believe that examples are followed.

Attending the seminar were 26 North Americans representing a wide range of organizations as well as several journalists.

Among the representatives were Marjorie Boehm from Women's International League for Peace and Freedom; James Bristol of the American Friends Service Committee; Robert Chrisman of the magazine Black Scholar: Henry Foner of the Fur and Leather Workers Joint Board; George Houser of the American Committee on Africa; Lee Johnson of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists; Brenda J. Jones of Freedomways Magazine: Willis Logan of the Africa Office, National Council of Churches; Anthony Monteiro of National Anti-Imperialist Movement in Solidarity with African Liberation ; Patricia Murray of National Conference of Black Lawyers; Antonio Rodriguez of Centra de Accion Social Autonomo (acasa), a Chicano organization and Jose Velazquez of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party.

A telegram sent to the gathering by Rep.Charles Diggs (D-Mich) expressed regret that he could not attend and offered his hope for a frank and fruitful meeting.

Founding Members CBC

The following were founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus:[2]