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The National Coalition of Black Lesbians And Gays



On Friday, June 27, 1969, eight New York City police officers raided a gay bar at

57 Christopher Street
in Greenwich Village. The manager of the Stonewall Inn was served with a warrant for selling liquor without a license, and police ordered patrons to leave the bar. As the patrons congregated outside, unlike at previous raids, they taunted the police with catcalls and openly defied them by throwing bricks and bottles. Led in part by black and Latino drag queens, a spontaneous rebellion erupted against the practice of police harassment of homosexuals. As word spread in the following days, hundreds of gays and lesbians, including African Americans, showed up in
Sheridan Square
to show their solidarity. The Stonewall Rebellion, as it has become known, marked a turning point for gays and lesbians, and it has since become the defining moment in American gay and lesbian history.




After Stonewall, increasing numbers of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Americans began to emerge "out of the closet." African Americans have played a critical role in the gay movement's development during this time.


Activists in the 1970s began to make connections between the politics of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation.


On August 15, 1970, Huey P. Newton, Supreme Commander of the Black Panther Party, published a letter in the party newsletter stating, "the women's liberation front and gay liberation front are our friends."


From the late 1970s to the present, numerous organizations formed to represent the interests of black homosexuals, bisexuals, and others. These include the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays, the National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum, the Unity Fellowship Church Movement, and the National Body of the Black Men's and Women's Exchange.


The National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays (originally the National Coalition of Black Gays) was founded in 1978 and drew to its ranks and nurtured some of the most significant African American lesbian and gay activists of the post-Stonewall era. NCBLG had chapters nationwide and was at the forefront of Black and other people-of-color organizing for more than ten years. 

The National Coalition of Black Gays was riding high during the period following the success of the Third World Gay Conference. During 1980 the organization was formally incorporated and chapters were formed in cities across the nation, including: Philadelphia, New York, Norfolk, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago, Portland, St. Louis, San Francisco, Boston and Richmond.

The organization also changed its name to NCBLG (National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays) and adopted a new theme, "As proud of our Gayness as we are of our Blackness." Its board of directors included Joseph Beam, Barbara Smith, Lawrence Washington and Michelle Parkerson. Gil Gerald became its first executive director. Notes for an Emerging Black Gay Activist was a sort of primer for aspiring Black Gay Activists. It's a little raw and simplistic by today's standards but back then Black Gays were dealing with new territory and it was seen as pretty good advice.

Co-Founders NCBLG

A Billy S Jones and Dolores Berry organized a national organization for black gays and lesbians in Columbia, MD.  NCBG provided political representation and activism for African-American gays and lesbians at a national level.  In 1979, it was one of the organizers of the Third World Conference for gays and lesbians of color and lobbied successfully for the first gay and lesbian March on Washington.

Rev. Delores P. Berry

Rev. Delores P. Berry.  Over the years, Rev. Delores has served in a variety of ministries including the MCC Evangelistic Team; Commission on Faith, Fellowship and Order; Inclusive Language Task Force; Elders' Task Force on World Church Extension; Clergy Credentials and Concerns Committee; Commission on Missiology; and the Department of People of Color.


She co-founded the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays and served on organizing committees for the first Gay and Lesbian March on Washington and the first People of Color Gay and Lesbian White House Conference.  Delores was also an active member of the Board of Ordained Ministry (BOM) in the Mid-Atlantic District where she guided and touched the lives of many clergypersons in formation.   In 1991, MCC honored Rev. Berry with the prestigious Purple Grass Award for Excellence in Evangelism. 


Today, Rev. Berry continues to share her spiritual gifts through hospital and home visits, healing services, gospel concerts, and workshops in diversity, spirituality and outreach.  She has produced four commercial album recordings, the latest of which is entitled "God Put a Rainbow in the Sky."  An international network of supporters known as Voices of the Rainbow fund and empower Rev. Berry to excel in ministry throughout the world.


When at home Delores enjoys time with Judy Kiser, her spouse of twenty years.  Judy serves as the Ministry Coordinator for their evangelism by scheduling tours.  They work together to maintain contact with pastors, lay leaders and congregants throughout MCC encouraging their needs for personal healing and support. Delores and Judy also produce personally crafted cards and crafts which they use to encourage all of us in spreading the Good News.


A. Billy S. Jones, bisexual founding member of National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays, helped organize the first black gay delegation to meet with President Carter's White House staff.  Jones was also a core organizer of the 1979 March On Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights.

A. Billy S. Jones, has served as director for more than 10 years for numerous projects addressing social and heath issues, such as substance abuse, violence, HIV/AIDS, mental health and cultural diversity. Many projects were community partnership and coalition efforts that included faith-based organizations as part of their makeup.

Most recently, <span style="mso-bidi-font-size: 10.0pt">Mr.</span> Jones managed the development and delivery of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services faith-based curriculum, Volunteers Working in Faith Communities for Prevention. The trainings, sponsored by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, were hosted by various denominations in communities throughout the United States. Volunteers committed to addressing substance abuse prevention through their religious affiliations came together to develop strategies that worked best for their targeted populations.

For six years, <span style="mso-bidi-font-size: 10.0pt">Mr.</span> Jones was deputy project director and trainer coordinator for the CSAP community partnership training program. This training program worked with communities addressing substance abuse prevention and provided technical assistance in needs assessment, community mobilization, and leadership. A "community wheel" model was a key aspect of these trainings that encouraged the coming together of various entities within communities - faith-based organizations, social services, media, private industry and businesses, law enforcement, schools and universities.

In addressing cultural diversity in the workplace as well as communities, <span style="mso-bidi-font-size: 10.0pt">Mr.</span> Jones facilitates participants understanding of religious beliefs as one of the dimensions that affects attitudes and interactions with others. <span style="mso-bidi-font-size: 10.0pt">Mr.</span> Jones worked closely with the development and delivery of a number of CSAP cultural - specific trainings targeting African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and Asian/Pacific Islanders that required sensitivity and responsiveness to the importance of spirituality and religion for each group. This often called a delicate blending of communities and government collaborating to respond to social and heath issues.


Black / Out -- The 10th Anniversary Edition published in 1988 (PDF - Large file)

Source:  http://www.geocities.com/ninure/black_gblt002.html






Click Image To View PDF File (Large 4 meg file)
NBCLG Homecoming Issue - 1988

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