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What They See Is What They’ll Be….100 Black Men, Inc.

by: Vinnie Bagwell
February 18, 2015

The Civil-Rights Movement was in its infancy in 1954 when Robert Mangnum became the youngest person, at 32, and the second black person to be named a deputy police commissioner in New York City. Mangnum was committed to “justice for all.” In February 1958, Police Commissioner Stephen P. Kennedy reprimanded him for “impulsive and improper behavior” after Mangnum had gone to a precinct house and drawn a line through the arrest record of a woman he knew. (She had been charged with making an improper turn, then causing a ruckus at the precinct.) Although the commissioner emphasized his “outstanding record,” Deputy Commissioner Magnum later resigned to pursue other career interests. He also joined a number of like-minded black men, from various walks of life, that pledged to advocate for improvement in conditions in their communities around the City.

These visionaries were successful and upcoming business, political and community leaders: Magnum would later became the chief of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty in the Northeast, and the chairman of human rights for New York State. He also became chairman of the New York affiliate of the National Urban League and the first black judge appointed to the New York State Court of Claims, which adjudicates claims against the State. David N. Dinkins, a young attorney, then, would become the first black mayor of New York. Dr. William Hayling was an obstetrician, who would gain renown. Nathaniel Goldston III was a successful businessman. Livingston Wingate, an attorney, who later became a judge; Andrew Hatcher, the first black person to serve in the White House Press Office and associate press secretary to President John F. Kennedy; and Jackie Robinson, first African American to play in Major League Baseball, were among them. As a symbol of solidarity, the group embraced the name, “One-Hundred Black Men.”

It was 1963, and the 100 envisioned an organization that would capitalize on the collective power of the community to address issues of inequities and to empower African Americans to become agents of change in their communities to improve the quality of life for themselves as well as for other minorities. They also wished to ensure the future of their communities by aiming a large number of resources toward youth development because what they see is what they’ll be.

Dr. William Hayling relocated to Newark, New Jersey, and sought to replicate the 100’s impact in that area. In 1976, Dr. Hayling formed the One-Hundred Black Men of New Jersey. A movement was born as men across the country began to form One-Hundred Black Men organizations to leverage their collective talents and resources. Chapters were formed in Los Angeles, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area, Nassau/Suffolk, Alton, and Sacramento.

On September 21, 1983, a three-hour meeting was held among representatives from the Los Angeles, New York, New Jersey, and St. Louis chapters in Washington, D.C., during the annual meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus. The purpose of the meeting was to evaluate the feasibility of establishing a national organization for One-Hundred Black Men. Representatives of St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area, Nassau/Suffolk and Sacramento met for a second time in Las Vegas, in May 1984. The men engaged in extensive discussions about the most effective structure to support the growth and governance of One-Hundred Black Men chapters. The third meeting was two years later. At this meeting, it was agreed that the best model for the national organization leveraged human and financial resources, and supported chapter growth while preserving chapter autonomy.

The name: “One-Hundred Black Men of America, Inc.,” was declared on October 2, 1986, at a meeting
in Washington, D.C. On May 27, 1987, the newly-formed organization introduced itself to the nation during its first national conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Noted speakers included the late Alex P. Haley and the late Honorable Maynard H. Jackson.

In 1989, Nathaniel R. Goldston III became the organization’s second national president, used his business acumen and resources to expand the organization to 43 chapters and enhance the organization’s infrastructure. Thomas W. Dortch Jr., the third national president spearheaded an aggressive plan entitled Four For The FutureTM. Since that time, the organization has strategically channeled its resources toward programs that support these important areas: mentoring, education, health and wellness, and economic development, critical area for the future of African Americans.

In 1997, the organization expanded internationally with the chartering of the Birmingham, England chapter. Additional international chapters and interest groups followed including: Nassau Bahamas, Goree Island, Senegal, Kingston, Jamaica, U.S. Virgin Islands, and London, England. It was also in 1997 that the organization purchased its world-headquarters building on historic Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia. Also, the “Collegiate 100” was formed to focus the next generation on mentoring.

In 2004, Albert E. Dotson, Jr., Esq., was elected the fourth President/Chairman of the Board. During Dotson’s tenure the 100 launched the Leadership-Development Institute (LDI) to provide a vehicle through which members of the 100 could fine-tuned their leadership skills. The 100 also created their Community-Empowerment Project (CEP) which ensures that the city where the 100 convenes its annual conference receives a social and socie- tal impact that is sustainable by the community.

Eagle Academy for Young Men in the Bronx was founded by members of One-Hundred Black Men, Inc., as a response to the dire crisis facing young males of color. When the doors opened in 2004, it was the first all-male public school to open in New York City in 30 years. In 2008, a second Eagle Academy opened in Brooklyn, and, in 2010, a Queens school opened. One-Hundred Black Men members commit resources including scholarships and mentoring.

From 2006 to 2009, the 100 helped launch the “National Cares Mentoring Movement” to mobilize millions of able African Americans to take the lead in fulfilling our society’s spiritual and social responsibility to our children. The 100 expanded its focus on advocacy for responsible public policy, including sponsoring the internationally-broadcast debate on urban issues between Presidential candidates Senator Barack H. Obama, Senator Hillary R. Clinton, and Senator John Edwards. The 100 has consistently increased its resources to deliver relevant new programs and en- hance signature programs. The organization is moving their mission and strategic direction forward as it implements “Mentoring the 100 Way Across a Lifetime”.

The One-Hundred Black Men has become one of the preeminent African-American organizations that champions issues that face our communities today. Michael Garner, the president of the New York Chapter of One-Hundred Black Men underscores that, “Today, the organization has grown to over 116 chapters, with more than 10,000 members who play a proactive role in leveraging our collective energy and talents toward achieving mean- ingful gains for the African-American community.” One-Hundred Black Men of America, Inc., has more than 100,000 youth participants annually in its mentoring and youth-development programs. Garner continues, “As the environ- ment changed, our approach to achieving our mission to improve the quality of life and enhance educational oppor- tunities for African Americans has changed only in that while we focus more on tutoring and mentoring for youth, we also advocate for job training and access to government contracts, which leads to access to jobs. After all the effort spent to educate youth, if they can’t get a job or create a business after college, then it’s all for naught.”

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