FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHO ARE WE?
The National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL) is an association of lawyers, scholars, judges, legal workers, law students, and legal activists. We are associated with the purpose of enhancing our professional strength and skill for the benefit of the Black community in its struggle for full social political and economic rights.
NCBL is a bar association, but its program focuses on matters of critical concern to the broader Black community. We seek to utilize the vehicles of the law to advance the fight against racism and the inequities it produces.
HOW DID WE GET STARTED?
NCBL grew out of the civil rights struggles of the 1960s. In 1968, a group of Black lawyers from across the United States came together in Capahosic, Virginia to consider the relationship between the Black bar, the Black community, and White America.
All agreed that there was a special need for an activist bar organization that would employ its members' skills in the movements against racism and for the liberation of Black people.
That historic Capahosic gathering was followed by a larger conference of lawyers and students in 1969 in Chicago, and, in this manner, NCBL was launched. The Capahosic Declaration of Concern and Commitment expressed the purpose of NCBL to be the Creation of "a permanent and ongoing body of all Black lawyers determined to join the Black revolution and committed to taking all steps to assist Black people to attain the goals to which they are rightly entitled by ... law, morality and justice."
WHAT ARE OUR OBJECTIVES?
The purposes for which we were originally formed in 1968 still serve to define our mission today. The Capahosic lawyers organized NCBL to:
Analyze and study problems of Black attorneys in the United States in their legal practices;
Encourage Black youth to study law;
Work for the elimination of racism in the law;
Give attention to the root problems of the Black community.
HOW ARE WE ORGANIZED?
NCBL is governed by a national Board of Directors that meets four times a year.
The Board is chaired by two Co-Chairpersons, elected for two-year terms in alternate years.
Our by-laws provide that one of the Board Chairpersons be a woman.
Each NCBL chapter is entitled to elect one member to the Board.
Five at-large Board members are elected by the full membership at the time of our Annual Conference, one of whom must be a student and another of whom must be a legal worker.
The President of the Black American Law Students Association also holds a place on the NCBL Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors is assisted in its work by our Friends and Founders Committee.
WHERE ARE OUR CHAPTERS?
Our Chapters are the lifeblood of NCBL. We have Chapters throughout the United States and in Canada and the Caribbean.
Through the volunteer efforts of chapter members, NCBL is able to address a wide variety of local and national issues.
Our national membership also includes many at-large members who are not affiliated with a local chapter.
UNITED STATES CHAPTERS:
WHO'S IN OUR NETWORK?
WHAT IS OUR NATIONAL PROGRAM
NCBL carries out its national program through its sections. Each section is coordinated by a chairperson. Each NCBL member is encouraged to join one or more of the national sections.
The sections offer members the opportunity for direct and focused participation in the national program.
NCBL meets annually at its National Conference to assess its past progress, define future activities, and strengthen the lines of communication within the Black legal community.
The conference also provides the opportunity to recognize the contributions of outstanding Black legal activists, to whom awards are presented at our Annual Dinner.