Youth Representative At Podium

Youth representative speaking at the Special General Convention, 1969.

The disagreements over the GCSP and the Black Manifesto were greatly in evidence when the Special General Convention began on August 31, 1969. Bishop Hines’ opening speech called for a renewed commitment to social justice and a “willingness to listen” to the differing opinions within the Church. Confrontation erupted however, when members of the Union of Black Clergy and Laity (UBCL) wrestled the microphone from a speaker at the first joint session of Convention and introduced Muhammed Kenyatta, a member of the BEDC, who demanded that the Convention address the issue of racism and reparations. Ultimately, the Convention voted to raise an additional $200,000 for development in African American communities, which would go to the National Committee of Black Churchmen (NCBC). This allocation of funds sparked controversy and resulted in a backlash by many Episcopal congregations. Some critics of the Convention's financial committment questioned the motives of the NCBC. Other members interpreted the decision as the Church's acceptance of the Black Economic Development Conference's demands for reparations. [Sources]

An audio recording of highlights from the Special General Convention, 1969.