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  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: December 2014

9 - New Bethel and the End of the Beginning


As the RNA approached its first year of existence (March 29–31, 1969), members attempted to celebrate their achievements as well as deal with some administrative business at the second National Legislative Convention. The event was to be held at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, the church of C. L. Franklin, who had opened his doors to his old associates. As you may recall, New Bethel Baptist had earlier served as an important locale for the individuals associated with the RNA as well as the place where the opening ceremony of the Republic was held. There had not been much connection since that time.

In preparation for the scheduled events, there was much to be done, and distinct agendas were brought to the meeting by the different attendees as they attempted to repair and strengthen the struggling SMO. For example, there was still tension about what to do with the Ocean Hill–Brownsville initiative, which had largely fallen to the pressures discussed in the last chapter. In addition, however, other issues were emerging (e.g., how the RNA could continually fund itself, how African Americans could be better informed about the RNA, and what should be done in the South).

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