1970 Black Power Conference in Altlanta, Georgia

Visit by Indigenous Activists to USA

An important event in the history of Black power in Australia was a visit to the United States in 1970 by a delegation of Indigenous people. The main reason for the trip was to attend a conference in Alanta Georgia at the invitation of Dr. Roosevelt Brown. In 1969 Dr. Brown was at the centre of a major controversy at the Melbourne Aborigines Advancement League (AAL) when he clashed with resident icon Pastor Doug Nicholls over the issue of "Black Power".

The Atlanta conference was organised by the Congress of African Americans and was labeled by Australian media as a "Black Power" conference. This fed the flames of Australian community paranoia about "Black Power", a concept perceived by Australians to have connotations of violence and racial mayhem. Whereas Aboriginal people embraced the concept as meaning "Black Control of Black Affairs".

The Atlanta Conference was attended by Australian Black Power activists Bob Maza, Bruce McGuinness Sol Bellear and Patsy Kruger. Perth poet Jack Davis was also part of the delegation.

This visit occurred at a crucial moment in the ideological and philosophical development of the Black Power Movement in Australia, and was to be of enormous influence to both those who went to the US and those who they were linked with back home.

For more on the details of the trip plus rare photos of the delegation in the United States, Click Here