National Association of Black and White Men Together
The National Association of Black and White Men Together, Inc.: A Gay Multiracial Organization for All People (NABWMT) is a longstanding network of chapters across the United States focused on LGBT and racial equality, founded in May, 1980 in San Francisco as a consciousness-raising, multicultural organization and support group for gay men forming multiracial relationships. To attain these ends, its local chapters organised social gatherings and engaged in educational, cultural, and political activities. It is a registered IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. NABWMT's goals consist of two major themes: combating racism within the LGBT community and combating homophobia in general society. NABWMT's vision is to be a key organizational and archival resource for those working on racial and social justice. An overall goal is to witness an America free of racism and homophobia.
History and Impact
NABWMT got its start in May 1980 when founder Michael Smith placed an advertisement in The Advocate for a potluck that attracted 20 people. Within a year of its founding, local chapters were established in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Memphis, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, and Milwaukee. Chapters named "Black and White Men Together," "Men of All Colors Together," "GREAT (Gay Racially Equal And Together) Men of (city)," and "People of All Colors Together" which include women, all operate under the NABWMT umbrella. Local chapters host social and educational events, and also support other aspects of their communities. For example, the Detroit chapter raised funds for and provided direct assistance to the Ruth Ellis Center in 2006.
As a result of AIDS education and support work carried out by chapters, the National Task Force on AIDS Prevention (NTFAP) and Bay Area HIV Support and Education Services (BAHSES) both sprung from NABWMT in the late 1980s. In 1980, Reggie Williams, an executive director of NABWMT and NTFAP, began to reach out to Black gay and bisexual men, as well as other gay men of color communities in San Francisco.
Education about racism, homophobia and HIV/AIDS remain a primary focus of NABWMT and its local chapters. This is accomplished through workshops (presentations, seminars, dynamic discussions, enlightenment sessions) during the annual national convention and during periodic regional weekend get-togethers through the Midland (presently inactive) and Western Regions. These topics are also regularly discussed in the published quarterly newsletter Q Visions, the NABWMT website (www.nabwmt.org), many podcasts, and local chapter "gabfests."
Indeed, the two Facebook pages (with over 14,000 members as of 2018) may represent one of the few opportunities for people from around the world to view and engage in civil communications in real time about these provocative topics, some of which may be forbidden in their countries. Ten volunteer moderators/administrators approve requests for "membership" to the two groups, and lightly moderate and approve posts.
The first national convention was held in San Francisco in 1981; more recently, the 34th convention was held in Milwaukee, July 2014, 35th in Newark, July, 2015, 36th in Memphis, July, 2016, and the 37th convention in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, August, 2017. www
Notably, the Western Region comprising Southern California, Phoenix, and Seattle have held successful regional get-togethers in the fall or spring, each of which attracting 50-60. The focus of these regional activities include educational activities and social activities.
The Boston chapter held the eighth annual NABWT convention in the City of Boston in July 1988 at the Park Plaza Hotel, during which members from 23 chapters attended.
Convention Years, Locations, and Memorable Highlights
- 1981, San Francisco, CA:
- 1982, Washington, DC:
- 1983, Columbus, OH:
- 1984, Atlanta, GA:
- 1985, Los Angeles, CA:
- 1986, New York, NY: Bayard Rustin addressed outdoor rally during NYC's Pridefest.
- 1987, Milwaukee, WI: Name change controversy: "Black & White Men Together" vs. "Men of All Colors Together"; Author Joseph Beam's provocative comments about interracial relationships and black men dating non-African-Americans.
- 1988, Boston, MA:
- 1989, Tallahassee, FL:
- 1990, San Francisco, CA:
- 1991, Detroit, MI:
- 1992, Dallas, TX:
- 1993, Chicago, IL:
- 1994, Washington, DC:
- 1995, Key West, FL:
- 1996, Cleveland, OH:
- 1997, Charlotte, NC:
- 1998, Ft. Lauderdale, FL:
- 1999, Philadelphia, PA:
- 2000, San Francisco, CA:
- 2001, New Orleans, LA:
- 2002, Miami Beach, FL:
- 2003, Kansas City, MO:
- 2004, Atlanta, GA:
- 2005, Pittsburgh, PA:
- 2006, Long Beach, CA:
- 2007, Cleveland, OH:
- 2008, St. Louis, MO:
- 2009, Philadelphia, PA:
- 2010, Ft. Lauderdale, FL:
- 2011, Las Vegas, NV:
- 2012, San Diego, CA: Keynote address by former US Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders.
- 2013, Columbus, OH:
- 2014, Milwaukee, WI: Professional photographer Thomas Hellstrom; Azha Art Gallery exhibit; LGBT colorguard and Miriam Ben Shalom
- 2015, Newark, NJ: Keynote addresses by Walter Naegle (Bayard Rustin's partner during last decade of Rustin's life) and historian Dr. Martin Duberman.
- 2016, Memphis, TN: Memphis riverboat cruise and tours of the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Hotel.
- 2017, Ft. Lauderdale, FL: Trips to the Beach, Alligator Swamp Tour, World AIDS Museum
- 2018, Reno, NV:
- 2019, Washington, DC/Arlington, VA:
- 2020, New Orleans, LA:
Notable Convention Speakers
- Walter Naegle (Bayard Rustin's partner for the last decade of Rustin's life (1977–87)), and historian, Dr. Martin Duberman, Newark, 2015.
- United States Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders, San Diego, 2012
- Chris Bartlett, Executive Director of the William Way LGBT Community Center, Philadelphia, 2009
- Pauline Park, Cleveland, 2007
- Ohio State Representative Sandra Williams, Cleveland, 2007
- Joseph Fairchild Beam (editor of the ground-breaking anthology of black gay literature, In the Life, Milwaukee, 1987.
- Hoff, Victor (14 June 2012). "Celebrating interracial and interethnic relationships". LGBT Weekly. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
- "Black and White Men Together San Francisco Bay Area records". Online Archive of California. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
- "Black and White Men Together, National Association of (NABWMT)". Wisconsin Gazette. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
- Colletta, Jen (20 January 2011). "MACT Celebrates 30 Years with Exhibit". Philadelphia Gay News. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
- "Black & White Men Together: Milwaukee Chapter". Wisconsin GLBT History Project. May 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
- Azzopardi, Chris (28 September 2006). "Group celebrates 25 years of interracial mingling". PrideSource. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
- "Reggie Williams, Renowned S.F. AIDS Activist". SFGate. Retrieved 2016-04-14.
- "Dressing Up History / Gay stories come alive at historical society". SFGate. Retrieved 2016-04-14.
- "July 8-12, 2014: 34th Annual Convention NABWMT Milwaukee". allevents.in. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
- Glassman, Anthony (10 August 2007). "National BWMT convention wraps up with awards". Gay People's Chronicle. Retrieved 22 October 2014.