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The late James Forman, a former leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, introduced his “Black Manifesto” document in April 1969 at a conference in Detroit. The manifesto demanded $500 million in reparations from white church organizations to make up for the crimes and injustices suffered by Black Americans.
The Black Economic Development Conference, formed by business and religious leaders in caucuses with predominantly white Christian denominations, was held in Detroit from April 25-27, 1969. During the conference, Forman, then loosely associated with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and in the wake of a failed merger with the Black Panthers, introduced the terms of his manifesto.
Known for his fiery politics and ability to mobilize, Forman would see his manifesto adopted by the BEDC group. Forman demanded that white churches and synagogues pay the reparations to fund Black companies, schools, a southern land bank, and…
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