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The National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM) was founded in 1972.
Headquartered in Georgia, NCBM's mission was to enhance the executive skills of its members to more effectively govern their cities. After the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965 were enacted, the number of African Americans elected to public office increased substantially, with the most dramatic gains coming in the South at the mayoral level. In 1972, 13 recently elected Black mayors met in Fayette, MS., to discuss developing programs to benefit their respective municipalities.
A year later, the second meeting of 15 Black mayors was held in Tuskegee, AL., leading to the creation of a new organization, the Southern Conference of Black Mayors (SCBM). In 1974, 20 Black mayors gathered in Santee, S.C., where they voted to incorporate SCBM, hiring its first executive director and opening a headquarters office later that same year.
By the time of its first annual convention in 1975 in Grambling, LA, SCBM had secured funding, conducted several economic development and water system studies, and developed an extensive technical assistance program.
In 1976, at the second annual convention in Atlanta, the mayors voted to expand the organization's scope, changing the name to the National Conference of Black Mayors, Inc. That same year, NCBM presented a series of municipal management clinics in communities and produced many proposals and grant applications that generated millions in federal funding for badly needed public works projects across the South.
Since that time, NCBM, in partnership with several federal agencies, has offered technical help and training in several areas, including housing, community development, water and wastewater system development, employment training, energy management, and rural transportation. The organization has also networked effectively to respond to national issues with organizations such as the National Association of Black County Officials, the Conference of Minority Public Administrators, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Since 1980, the NCBM has helped promote international exchange, taking delegations of mayors to China, Taiwan, Senegal, the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Japan, and several other foreign countries. Finally, NCBM has been active as an advocate for the Black community at large in matters of health, social policy, economic development, and political empowerment.