Wish You Were Here
Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel
Issue: January/February 2011
The 25 Largest African-American Conventions 2010
By: Michael Bennett


The African American meetings and conventions marketplace is alive and well thank you very much ⎯ in fact, it's thriving. Has it returned to pre-recession levels, the answer is probably no, although I have no empirical data to support that assertion. But there's lots of good news out there for destinations and suppliers willing to include African-American gatherings into their future business plans. The top 25 African-American conventions listed here in terms of attendance attracted in excess of 250,000 attendees, and the list we've provided is by no means all-inclusive.

Many of the faith-based organizations have multiple gatherings throughout a calendar year and only limited space prevented me from showcasing more of these gatherings. In total, we are probably looking at attendance figures in the millions. Want more good news; in a year when people have pulled back on their spending the top 25 conventions listed here have a collective economic impact of over $200 million. It would be a safe bet that when combined with all other predominant African-American conventions the total economic impact is in the billions of dollars.

It's important to remember the African-American travel market is a $48.6 billion a year business (according to the U.S.T.A.) and much of that business is rooted in conferences and conventions. This is the fifth year Black Meetings and Tourism has embarked on this endeavor to report on the size and viability of African-American conferences and conventions. It takes weeks of research and phone calls just to gather the basic information for this article, but the effort is well worth the investment. In previous years, what we would consider as second-tier markets in terms of population have done exceedingly well and this year is no exception. Charlotte, NC; Fort Worth, TX; Kansas City, MO; and Cincinnati acquitted themselves well hosting multiple conventions. Meeting planners and attendees I spoke with tell me that all four cities have outstanding venues and their gatherings were a rousing success.

But for the first time in several years some of our larger more expensive cities have attracted some major gatherings. No major market had a better year than Los Angeles. The Church of God in Christ held their Women's Conference and 25,000 attended. In September, the National Black MBA Association and 12,000 of its members descended on Los Angeles for their annual gathering. The brand new downtown area around Staples Center, LA Live, the Nokia Center and Convention Center has really made the city a destination of choice for meeting planners. And to top it all off, the NAACP chose Los Angeles as home for their 2011 annual convention.

Another of those top-tier cities that has a bright future is Boston, which has attracted two substantial gatherings in 2011 ⎯ Blacks in Government and the National Urban League. If these two gatherings are as well attended as their 2010 events, 25,000 attendees will descend on Beantown. Like every year since we started this column, there are a few cities that have that "it" factor ⎯ that special something that acts as a magnet for meeting planners. Those cities in no particular order are Atlanta, New Orleans, Orlando and Houston. Of the top 25 organizations listed here, these destinations have hosted almost all of them, some multiple times.

There is one city that deserves a mention in this part of our reporting ⎯ Toronto. We often forget about our friends north of the border, but Toronto has it all. They hosted the National Society of Black Engineers and are looking to increase their footprint in the African-American market. The CVB was extremely cooperative and one of the first to respond to my request for information. In terms of the types of conventions held, as usual three groups dominate our list ⎯ religious organizations, professional groups and fraternities and sororities. Many of these groups in addition to their large national conventions have regional meetings that attract thousands.

And finally, here is the disclaimer. For the purposes of our reporting, we depended on the CVB's to provide most of the information as regards to the number of attendees and the estimated economic impact. Please keep in mind that the economic impact of a particular convention is germane to the areas in which the conference or convention is held. We encourage you to do your own homework using our research as a guide.

1. The National Baptist Convention
Founded in 1886, the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. is the nation's oldest and largest African-American religious convention. According to the National Baptist Convention, the mission of the Convention is to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ through preaching, teaching, and healing. The Congress of Christian Education is an auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. (NBCUSA.) The annual Christian Educational sessions are held the week following the third Sunday in June in various cities throughout the United States. The National Baptist holds multiple gatherings annually in cities all across the country. Two of the larger ones are listed below.

The 105th National Baptist Congress of Christian Education
Attendance: 17,000
Last/Current Convention Location: Houston
Convention Dates: June 21-25, 2010
Venues: Reliant Park, George R. Brown Convention Center
Hotel: 2 Primary
Room Nights: 12,200
Estimated Direct Spending: $11.6 million
Headquarters: 1700 Baptist World Center Drive, Nashville, TN 37207
Congress President: Dr. George W. Waddles
Membership: 7.5 million
Next Convention: Indianapolis
Convention Dates: June 20-24, 2011
Website: nationalbaptist.com

130th Annual National Baptist Convention
Attendance: 15,000
Last/Current Convention Location: Kansas City, MO
Convention Dates: September 6-10, 2010
Venue: Kansas City Convention Center
Hotels: 5
Room Nights: 12,000
Estimated Economic Impact: $10 million
Airlines: American and Northwest
Headquarters: 1700 Baptist World Center Drive, Nashville, TN 37207
President: Reverend Dr. William J. Shaw (President Dr. Julius R. Scruggs)
Membership: 7.5 million
Next Convention Location: Orlando
Convention Dates: September 5-9, 2011
Venue: Orlando Convention Center
Meeting Planner: Romona Riscoe
Website: nationalbaptist.com

2. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority - 50th Biennial National Convention
Twenty-two collegiate women at Howard University founded Delta Sigma Theta Sorority in 1913. The sorority currently has over 900 chapters located in the United States, England, Japan, Germany, the Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Republic of Korea. Their mission is to provide assistance and support through established programs in local communities throughout the world. The major programs of the sorority are based on a "Five Point Thrust" of: economic development; educational development; international awareness and involvement; physical and mental health; and political awareness and involvement. The Deltas hold their conferences bi-annually.
Attendance: 15,391
Last/Current Convention Location: New Orleans
Convention Dates: July 29 - Aug 4, 2010
Venue: New Orleans Morial Convention Center
Hotels: Over a dozen
Room Nights: 25,008
Estimated Economic Impact: $18.1 million
Next Convention Location: TBD
Headquarters: 1707 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington DC 20009
Phone: (202) 296-2400
National President: Cynthia M.A. Butler-McIntyre
Membership: 200,000 (over 900 chapters)
Meeting Planner: Vida Smith
Special Note: Pitches are handled through local chapters to national office
Website: deltasigmatheta.org

3. Blacks in Government (BIG)
BIG is an advocate of equal opportunity and professional development for Black government employees at the local, state and federal levels. BIG, established in 1976 is mandated to promote equity, excellence and opportunity through employee advocacy, professional development and empowerment of African-Americans and others dedicated to justice and equity at all levels of government. BIG's National Training Conferences are attended by many who reside in foreign countries such as Japan, England, Germany, Korea and Italy as well as the United States and its territories.
Attendance: 15,000
Last/Current Convention Location: Kansas City, MO
Convention Dates: Aug 15-20, 2010
Venue: Kansas City Convention Center
Hotels: 5
Room Nights: 12,000
Economic Impact: $10 million
Headquarters: 3005 Georgia Ave., NW, Washington DC 20001
National President: J. David Reeves
Phone: (202) 667-3280
Membership: 8,000+
Next Convention Destination: Boston
Next Convention Dates: August 22-26, 2011
Meeting Planner: James Wilson, Office Staff Director
Website: bignet.org

4. Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles Mystic Shrine - Annual Convention
This is a fraternal, social and charitable organization that embraces all the basic fundamentals and concepts of the Masonic Order. There is a strong drive within this organization for self-improvement, enjoyment within its and rank and unselfish giving of goods and services on both the local and national level. They donate to the NAACP, the Legal Defense Fund, the Urban League, United Negro College Fund and annual grants to institutions of higher learning, hospitals and medical research.
Attendance: 15,000
Last/Current Convention Location: Tampa
Convention Dates: August 13-19, 2010
Venue: Tampa Convention Center
Hotels: 3
Room Nights: 12,000
Estimated Economic Impact: $6 million
Headquarters: 2239 Democrat Road, Memphis, TN 38132 (901) 395-0150
Leader: Oliver Washington, Jr., Imperial Potentate
Next Convention: Cincinnati
Convention Dates: August 15-18, 2011
Meeting Planner: Frederick M. Bell
Website: aeaonms.org

5. National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) - 32nd Annual Conference
The NBMBAA vision is to be an organization that leads in the creation of economic and intellectual wealth for Blacks. Their mission as a professional membership organization of Black graduates with MBAs, advanced degrees, and entrepreneurs, is to increase the number as well as the diversity of successful Blacks in the business community. Established in 1970, the NBMBAA is dedicated to the development of partnerships that result in the creation of intellectual and economic wealth in the Black community.
Attendance: 12,000
Last/Current Convention Location: Los Angeles
Convention Dates: Sept. 21-25, 2010
Venue: Los Angeles Convention Center
Hotels: JW Marriott and several downtown hotels
Room Nights: Unreported
Economic Impact: $12.4 million
Headquarters: 180 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: (312) 236-2622
Chairman: William (Bill) Wells, Jr.
Membership: 8,000 (representing 95,000 MBA's)
Next Convention: Atlanta
Convention Dates: October 4-8, 2011
Meeting Planner: Bridgitti Knox, CMP
Website: nbmbaa.org

6. National Urban League - Annual Convention
The National Urban League was established in 1910 and is the nation's oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to empowering African-Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream. Today, the National Urban League spearheads the non-partisan efforts of its local affiliates. There are over 100 local affiliates in 35 states and the District of Columbia providing direct services to more than 2 million people nationwide through programs, advocacy and research. The mission of the Urban League movement is to enable African-Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights.
Attendance: 12,000
Last/Current Convention Location: Washington DC
Convention Dates: July 28-August 1, 2010
Venue: Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Hotels: Numerous
Room Nights: 6,000
Estimated Economic Impact: $13.6 million
Headquarters: 120 Wall Street, New York, NY 10005
President and CEO: Marc Morial
Phone: (212) 558-5300
Membership: 2.5 million
Next Convention: Boston
Venue: Boston Convention and Exhibit Center
Convention Dates: July 27-31, 2011
Meeting Planner: Ms. Shawn Craig
Website: nul.org

7. Church of God in Christ (COGIC)
COGIC is one of our many faith-based groups that hold multiple conferences throughout the year. Many conferences draw at least 20,000. Several are listed here with detailed information on one listed below. COGIC has a history dating back well over 100 years ago and today boasts a membership into the millions. COGIC ministries extend to virtually every state and some 60 foreign countries with multiple conferences throughout the year, two of which are listed below. The Holy Convocation is held annually in St Louis. The Holy Convention traditionally does not change locations on an annual basis, but it typically attracts over 50,000. Estimates of the Holy Convocation's economic impact are $35 million annually.

International AIM Convention
Attendance: 12,000
Last/Current Convention Location: Charlotte, NC
Convention Dates: July 5-9, 2010
Venue: Charlotte Convention Center
Hotels: Numerous
Room Nights: 8,700
Estimated Economic Impact: $22.6 million
COGIC Offices of the General Secretary: (901) 947-9358
930 Mason Street, Memphis, TN 38126
Presiding Bishop: Charles E. Blake, Sr.
Membership: 6 million
Next AIM Convention: Houston
Next Convention Dates: July 4-8, 2011
Meeting Planner: Bishop Roy Dixon
Website: cogic.org

60th Annual Women's International Convention and Crusade
Attendance: 25,000
Last/Current Convention: Los Angeles
Venue: Los Angeles Convention Center
Hotels: The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, Marriott Los Angeles Downtown, JW Marriott Los Angeles, Wilshire Grand
Room Nights: $15,000
Estimated Economic Impact: $9.1 million

8. NAACP - Annual Convention
The most visible of all black organizations, is the NAACP. From its humble beginnings in a New York City apartment in 1909, the nation's oldest civil rights organization has long stood for social justice and fought to insure that African American voices would be heard. The mission of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. This famed organization speaks out on myriad of issues such as discrimination in the hotel industry to the recent economic meltdown as it pertains to African-Americans.
Attendance: 10,000
Last/Current Convention Location: Kansas City, MO
Convention Dates: July 10-15, 2010
Venue: Kansas City Convention Center
Hotels: 4
Room Nights: 9,000
Estimated Economic Impact: $7 million
Headquarters: 4805 Mt. Hope Dr., Baltimore, MD 21215
Chairman: Julian Bond
President: Benjamin Jealous
Phone: (410) 580-5780
Membership: 300,000+
Next Convention: Los Angeles
Dates: July 23-28, 2011
Venue: Los Angeles Convention Center
Meeting Planner: Ana Aponte-Curtis
Website: NAACP.org

9. Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International Conference
Over 25,000 people attended the first Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship at the Louisiana Superdome in 1994. From the vision the Holy Spirit first impressed upon Founder and International Presiding Bishop Paul S. Morton, Sr. back in 1992 this Fellowship continues to grow in prestige and influence. Among the Fellowship's major initiatives since 1994 include church planting in Africa and India, the dispensation of multiple $5,000 grants to struggling churches and the development of the Full Gospel Baptist Sunday School Curriculum.
Attendance 10,000
Last/Current Convention: Atlanta
Convention Dates: July 7-9, 2010
Venue: Georgia World Congress Center
Host Hotel: Atlanta Marriott Marquis
Room nights: 3,235
Estimated Economic Impact: $5 million
Headquarters: 1691 Phoenix Blvd, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30349
International Presiding Bishop Paul S. Morton
Phone: (770) 907-9877
Next Convention: Atlanta
Dates: June 29-July 1, 2011
Venue: TBD
Meeting Planner: Elder Mary Ann Williams
Website: fullgospelbaptist.org

10. Church of our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith - Annual Convocation
The church started in 1919, under the guidance of Bishop Robert C. Lawson, in New York City. The church quickly outdrew the space for worship as the congregation jumped to 200. Ministers and preachers were sent across the globe carrying the apostolic message. The church on 124th Street and 7th Avenue in New York is known as the "Mother Church" of the Churches of our Lord Jesus Christ. This group has numerous gatherings of varying sizes all across the nation.

92nd International Holy Convocation
Attendance: 8,000
Last/Current Convention: Orlando
Convention Dates: July 21-25, 2010
Venue/Hotel: Marriott World Center
Room Nights: Not Reported
Estimated Economic Impact: $6.7 million
Next Convention: Baltimore
Dates: July 13-17, 2011
Venue: Baltimore Convention Center
Hotel: Hilton Baltimore & Hyatt Regency
Meeting Planner: William Wilkens

71st International Congress
Attendance: 3,500
Last/Current Convention Location: Atlanta
Convention Dates: April 7-10, 2010
Venue: Georgia International Convention Center
Hotels: Hyatt Regency Atlanta
Room Nights: 1,315
Estimated Economic Impact: $1.7 million
Headquarters: 2081 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd, New York, NY 10029
Phone: (212) 926-0426
Chief Apostle: Bishop William Lee Bonner
Presiding Apostle: Bishop James I. Clark, Jr.
Next Convention: Jacksonville, FL
Convention Dates: April 27-30, 2011
Hotels: Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront
Convention Committee Chair: Deacon Everette Lowe
Website: cooljc.org

11. The Potter's House - 2010 Annual ManPower Men's Conference
ManPower, was created by Bishop T.D. Jakes to address the specific needs, hurts and struggles of all men from a biblical perspective. The first ManPower conference was held back in 1994 in Detroit. Due to the overwhelming success of the first convention Bishop Jakes continued holding ManPower conferences that today continues to draw tens of thousands from around the world. In 2003, the Atlanta conference drew over 44,000 attendees and millions watched from homes as the event was aired internationally in both English and Spanish.
Attendance: 7,500
Last/Current Convention: Fort Worth
Convention Dates: August 26-28, 2010
Venue: Fort Worth Convention Center
Hotel: Omni Forth Worth Hotel and several others
Room Nights: 4,620
Estimated Economic Impact: $3.9 million
Next Convention: Not Reported
Mailing Address: T.D. Jakes Ministries, P.O. Box 5390, Dallas, TX 75208
Email: custservice@ydjakes.org
Phone: (800) BISHOP2

12. Progressive National Baptist - 49th Annual Session
Organized at the height of the Civil Rights Movement in 1961, no other group has contributed more to the struggle for civil and human rights than the Progressive National Baptists. The convention was the denominational home and national platform for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who addressed every annual session until his death in 1968. The Progressive's count among their many distinguished members the Rev. Jessie Jackson, Rev. Benjamin Hooks, Rev. William Gray III, and Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy. The PNBC is an association of Baptist churches throughout the world committed to the mandate of making Disciples of Christ. Today, new generations of Progressive Baptist are continuing the struggle for full voter registration, education and participation, affirmation action against all forms of racism and bigotry, Black economic empowerment and development, equal educational opportunity and so much more.
Attendance: 7,000
Last/Current Convention Location: Orlando
Convention Dates: Aug 2-8, 2010
Venue/Hotel: Marriott World Center
Estimated Economic Impact: $5.2 million
Headquarters: 601 50th Street NE, Washington DC 20019
National President: Dr. Carroll A. Baltimore, Sr.
Phone: (202) 396-0558
Membership: 2.5 million
Next Convention: Washington DC
Convention Dates: August 7-12, 2011
Venue: Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
General Secretary: Dr. Walter Parrish III
Website: pnbc.org

13. National Minority Supplier Development Council - Annual Convention
This council provides a direct link between corporate America and minority-owned businesses. Chartered back in 1972, this council is one of the country's leading business membership organizations. Their primary mission is to provide increased procurement and business opportunities to minority businesses of all sizes. There are over 3,500 corporate organizations that are part of this network.
Attendance: 6,000
Last/Current Convention Location: Miami Beach
Convention Dates: October 24-27, 2010
Venue: Miami Beach Convention Center
Hotels: Numerous
Room Nights: 6,000 (Based on Previous Years)
Economic Impact: Not Reported
Headquarters: 1359 Broadway, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10018
Phone: (212) 944-2430
Next Convention: Atlanta
Dates: October 30-November 2, 2011
Venue: Georgia World Congress Center
Website: nmsdc.org

14. Pentecostal Assemblies of the World - Summer Convention
A revival broke forth in Kansas in 1901 and moved southward to Texas and finally reaching California in 1906. From there it spread to China, India and Africa fulfilling the work of the Lord. Their separate ministries include: women, men, ushers, single people, usher, international music and sacred art and much more. Like most of our religious groups the PAW has conferences and gatherings to teach the Word in places all over the globe drawing huge numbers.
Attendance: 5,000
Last/Current Convention Location: Minneapolis
Convention Dates: August 7-14, 2010
Venue: Minneapolis Convention Center
Hotels: 6
Room Nights: 5,600
Estimated Economic Impact: $5.7 million
Headquarters: 3939 N. Meadows Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46205
Phone: (317) 547-9541
Presiding Bishop: Charles H. Ellis, III
Next Convention: Atlantic City
Convention Dates: August 2011
Meeting Planner: Deborah Collins
Website: pawinc.org

15. National Society of Black Engineers - Annual Convention
NSBE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the academic and professional success of African-American engineering and technical students and professionals. NSBE is the largest student-managed society with over 20,000 members in 400 chapters nationwide and overseas. NSBE offers its member's leadership training, professional and academic development, mentoring opportunities, community service outreach programs and scholarships.
Attendance: 5,000
Last/Current Convention Location: Toronto
Convention Dates: March 31-April 4, 2010
Venue: Metro Toronto Convention Center
Hotels: Numerous
Room Nights: 7,000
Visitor Spending: $6.6 million
Headquarters: 205 Dangerfield Road, Alexandria, VA 22314
Executive Director: Carl Mack
Phone: (703) 549-2207
Membership: 20,000
Next Convention: St Louis
Dates: March 23-27, 2011
Venue: Americas Center
Hotels: Renaissance Grand, Roberts Mayfair Wynhdam, Holiday Inn Select, Crowne Plaza
Meeting Planner: Al Rutherford
Email: meeting@nsbe.org
Website: nsbe.org

16. Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) - Annual Workshop
Founded by the late Rev. James Cleveland in 1967, The GMWA is the largest International music convention of its kind. Each year thousands assemble in a teaching, learning and performance-oriented environment from over 185 chapters across the United States, United Kingdom, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia. According to GMWA, 75 percent of the recordings on Billboard Magazine's gospel charts are written, arranged, produced and/or performed by GMWA members. One highlight of the annual convention ⎯ the National Mass Choir made up of 2,000 to 3,000 vocalists from chapters all over the world produce a new recording after just 16 hours of rehearsal.
Attendance: 5,000
Last/Current Convention Location: Cincinnati
Convention Dates: July 24-30, 2010
Venue: Duke Energy Center
Hotels: 5
Room Nights: est. 11,569
Economic Impact: est. $3.4 million
Headquarters: 3908 West Warren, Detroit MI, 48208
Chairman: Bishop Albert L. Jamison, Sr.
Phone: (313) 898-7833
Membership: 75,000
Next Convention: Tampa
Convention Dates: August 13-19, 2011
Convention Manager: Mark Smith
Website: gmwanational.org

17. National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) - 38th Annual
The NABSE is the nation's premier non-profit organization devoted to furthering the academic success primarily of children of African descent. Now in its 38th year, this organization boasts an outreach to more than 10,000 preeminent educators including teachers, administrators, superintendents as well as corporate and institutional members. The primary goals and objectives of the organization are; to promote and facilitate the education of all students with a special focus on African-Americans, establish a coalition of African-American educators and others directly involved in the education process, create a forum for the exchange of ideas and strategies to improve opportunities for African-American educators and students, and identify and develop African-American professionals who will assume leadership positions in education and influence public policy.
Attendance: 3,000
Last/Current Convention Location: Fort Worth
Convention Dates: Nov 17-21, 2010
Venue: Fort Worth Convention
Hotels: Omni Fort Worth Hotel and several others
Room Nights: 6,652
Direct Spending: $6.2 million
Phone: (202) 608-6315
Headquarters: 310 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington DC 20003
National President: Dr. Deborah Hunter-Harvill
President Elect: Carrol A. Thomas, Jr.
Membership: 10,000
Next Convention: Not Reported
Venue: Not Reported
Meeting Planner: Quentin Lawson
Website: nabse.org

18. National Medical Association (NMA)
Founded in 1895, the National Medical Association is the nation's oldest and largest medical association. The NMA promotes the collective interests of physicians and patients of African descent. NMA carries out their mission by serving as the collective voice of physicians of African descent and is a leading force for parity in medicine, elimination of health disparities and promotion of optimal health. NMA's membership is comprised of physicians in primary care specialties, as well as other medical and surgical sub-specialties, academic medicine, military medicine and medical administration.
Attendance: 3,000
Last/Current Convention Location: Orlando
Convention Dates: July 30-August 5, 2010
Venue/Host Hotel: Gaylord Palms Hotel and Convention Center
Room Nights: Not Reported
Direct Spending/Economic Impact: $3.6 million
Headquarters: 8403 Colesville Road, Suite 920, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (202) 347-1895
President: Dr. Leonard Weather, Jr.
Membership: 30,000
Next Convention: Washington DC
Convention Dates: July 23-27, 2011
Venue: Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Director of Convention Services: Patricia Norman, CMP
Website: nmanet.org

19. The Links Incorporated - 37th National Assembly
The Links, Incorporated, founded in 1946, is one of the oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of women committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African-Americans and persons of African ancestry. The Links, Inc. has a membership of more than 12,000 professional women of color serving in 274 chapters in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and the Bahamas. Through its philanthropic arm, The Links Foundation, Incorporated, the organization has contributed more than $25 million to charitable causes since its' founding. During this biennium, Links contributed 1.2 million documented service hours assisting communities throughout the United States, Africa and other developing countries.
Attendance: 2,500
Last/Current Convention Location: Detroit
Convention Dates: June 30-July 4, 2010
Venue: Cobo Center
Room Nights: Not Reported
Direct Spending/Economic Impact: Not Reported
Headquarters: 1200 Massachusetts Avenue, Washington DC, 20005
Phone: (202) 842-8686
National President: Margot James Copeland
Membership: 12,000
Next Convention: TBD
Website: linksinc.org

20. National Association of the Church of God (NACOG) - Joint Convention
NACOG was officially organized in 1916 after operating as "Brothers and Sisters of Love" in Philadelphia the previous 10 years. This organization envisioned the uniting of African-American "immigrants" who were migrating from the South in search of new beginnings and new opportunities. The church expanded rapidly. The mission is to support pastors, identify and nurture leaders, develop healthy connected churches and empower spirit-filled servants to do the work of the Kingdom of God.
Attendance: 2,000
Last/Current Convention Location: Chicago
Convention Dates: Dec 27-30, 2010
Hotels: The Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers
Room Nights: 2,000 (Based on Previous Years)
Direct Spending: Not Reported
Headquarters: PO Box 357, West Middlesex, PA 16159
Phone: (724) 528-1340
Presiding Elder: Bishop Robert S. Davis
Next Convention: TBD
Website: nacog.com

21. National Association of Black Accountants
NABA was established in 1969 to expand the influence of minority professionals in the field of accounting and finance. The goals of NABA are to promote and develop professional skills, encourage and assist minority students entering the profession, provide opportunities for members to fulfill their civic responsibilities, ensure long-term financial stability and provide adequate resources to implement chapter, regional and national programs and to represent the interests of current and prospective minority accounting professionals.
Attendance: 2,000
Last/Current Convention Location: Houston
Convention Dates: June 15-29, 2010
Venue: George R. Brown Convention Center
Hotel: Hilton Americas
Room Nights: 4,418
Estimated Economic Impact: $1.9 million
Phone: (301) 474-NABA
Headquarters: 7249-A Hanover Parkway, Greenbelt, MD 20770
National President: Calvin Harris, Jr.
Membership: 200 chapters
Next Convention: Orlando
Dates: June 22-25, 2011
Hotel: Rosen Shingle Creek Resort
Website: nabainc.org

22. National Bar Association
During the first quarter of the 20th century, twelve African-American pioneers with a mutual interest in, and dedication to justice and the civil rights of all, helped structure the struggle of the African-American race in America. The National Bar Association (NBA) formally organized in Des Moines, IA on August 1, 1925. When the NBA was organized in 1925, there were fewer than 1,000 African-American lawyers in the nation, and less than 120 belonged to the Association. Over the past 75 years, the NBA has grown enormously in size and influence and includes among its members: judges, lawyers, educators and law students all across the country. Today, the NBA is involved in issues such as working with corporations to retain minority law firms, scholarship opportunities for young people entering the law profession, protecting the civil and political rights of citizens and residents of the United States and working with African countries to tackle issues affecting economic development on the African continent.
Attendance 1,900
Last/Current Convention Location: New Orleans
Convention Dates: August 9-13, 2010
Venue/Hotel: New Orleans Marriott
Room Nights: 4,890
Estimated Economic Impact: $5.8 million
Phone: (202) 842-3900
Headquarters: 1225 11th Street NW, Washington DC 20001
National President: Demetrius D. Shelton
Next Convention: Baltimore
Convention Dates: July 31-August 4, 2011
Hotel: Hilton Baltimore Hotel
Website: nationalbar.org
------------------------------

23. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity - 103rd Anniversary Convention
Alpha Phi Alpha was the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African-Americans in 1906. Civil Rights leaders such as W.E.B. Dubois, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and Thurgood Marshall were all proud members. Today, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity develops leaders and promotes brotherhood and academic excellence, while providing service and advocacy for our communities. The Fraternity has several committees involved in programs such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Collegiate Scholarships, Business and Economic Development and Racial Justice and Public Policy Commission.
Attendance: 1,500
Last/Current Convention Location: Las Vegas
Convention Dates: July 21-25, 2010
Venue/Hotel: Bally's Hotel & Casino
Room Nights: 3,453
Estimated Economic Impact: $1.05 million
Headquarters: 2313 St. Paul Street, Baltimore. MD 21218
National President: Herman "Skip" Mason, Jr.
Phone: (410) 554-0040
Membership: 200,000
Next Convention: Chicago
Next Convention Dates: June 22-25, 2010
Hotel: Hilton Chicago
Meeting Planner: Willard Hall
Website: alphaphialpha.net

24. National Dental Association - 97th Annual Convention
The National Dental Association (NDA) is the largest and oldest organization of minority oral health professionals in the world. The NDA has become a powerful voice for the health care rights of the underserved. The NDA was formed in 1913 as a forum for practicing African-American dentists who were denied membership in other oral health organizations. The mission of the NDA is to continually enhance the skills of its members, recruit under-represented minorities into the profession, and create opportunities for research among its members and the communities they serve.
Attendance: 1,500 (Based on Previous Years Numbers)
Last/Current Convention Location: Honolulu
Convention Dates: July 16-21, 2010
Host Hotel: Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Spa & Resort
Room Nights: 3,000 (Based on Previous Years Numbers)
Economic Impact: Not Reported
Headquarters: 3517 16th Street NW, Washington DC 20010
National President: Dr. Michael F. Battle
President Elect: Dr. Walter R. Owens
Membership: 10,000+
Next Convention: Baltimore
Dates: July 22-26, 2011
Hotel: Baltimore Marriott Waterfront
Meeting Planner: LaVette Henderson
Phone: (202) 588-1697
Website: ndaonline.org

25. National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association
This is the world's largest and oldest national association of African-American funeral directors, morticians and embalmers. One of their primary objectives is to foster research, conduct workshops and seminars, investigate funeral practices, develop and maintain standards of conduct designed to improve the business condition of its members and to maintain high standards of service and benefit to the public.
Attendance: 1,500 (Based on Previous Years)
Last/Current Convention Location: Ft. Lauderdale
Convention Dates: August 3-4, 2010
Venue: Greater Ft. Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center
Room Nights 2,200 (Based on Previous Years)
Economic Impact: Not Reported
Headquarters: 6290 Shannon Parkway, Union City, GA 30291
National President: Ernest C. Adams, Jr. CFSP
Membership:: 10,000+
Next Convention: TBD
Phone: (800) 434-0948
Website: nfdma.com

SIDEBAR
IMPORTANT GATHERINGS OF NOTE
We devoted a little space to events that don't necessarily fit the typical definition of a convention. Many of the events below are held in the same location annually, which is the main reason some did not appear in our top 25. The shear impact, popularity, importance, social and economic significance requires that we bring these gatherings to your attention.

Essence Music Festival
Sponsored by Essence magazine, this is the largest event celebrating African-American culture and achievement in the United States. 2010 proved to be another great year for the festival with over 400,000 attendees. Essence extended their relationship with the city through 2014. Based on previous years estimates the festival generates over $130 million in economic impact for New Orleans. In total over 75 hotels were used with over 25,000 room nights. Not bad for a town still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. This event is the single largest gathering of African-Americans in the country. Not only do you hear the best in Hip Hop, R & B, Gospel and Jazz by some of the world's top talent, Essence is also about empowerment through prayer and education with numerous seminars hosted by some of the best minds in the African American community.

Indiana Black Expo 40th Annual Summer Celebration
This expo is one of the largest and most popular events in the country. Held in July, this expo attracted over 200,000 people using 29,000 room nights with an estimated economic impact of over $22 million. The various symposiums with civic leaders cover everything from economics to political and social issues facing African-Americans. Entertainment is second to none with performances from the likes of Sugar Hill Gang, Eric Benet, Maze with Frankie Beverly and more.

Bronner Brothers
Bronner Brothers holds several significant events mainly on the east coast. Atlanta and Baltimore hosted events that drew thousands. The Mid Winter Hair Show held at the Georgia World Congress Center attracted 25,000 attendees. Based on previous years estimates this one show had over $17 million in economic impact on Atlanta. The Mid-Summer Show brought in even more with 55,000 people in attendance. Based on previous years, that is approximately $29 million dropped on the city of Atlanta. The Bronner Brothers is a privately held company whose mission is to pursue excellence by manufacturing and distributing hair care and skin products for African-Americans. Their website is bronnerbrothers.com.

Congressional Black Caucus
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. was established in 1976 as a non-partisan, non-profit, public policy, research and educational institute. The Annual Legislative Conference is considered to be the premier African-American conference on policy issues. The ALC is a platform for African-American members of Congress to share the progress of their work on legislative items and also allows for the exchange of ideas and how they relate to policy issues that are of critical concern to their constituents. CBC is held every September in Washington DC and draws 8,000 to 10,000 attendees.

Tom Joyner Family Reunion
Put on and hosted by radio personality Tom Joyner, this family reunion attracts thousands each year. Now in its 10th year this reunion celebration was held in Orlando, FL September 2-5, attracting over 6,000 people with 6,000 room nights according to the Orlando CVB. The projected economic impact was over $8.8 million. The host hotel for 2010 was the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center. Other venues used include: SeaWorld and Universal Orlando. Past performers include Al Green, Earth Wind & Fire, D. L. Hughley, Omarion, Lil JJ and Dr. Bobby Jones. This celebration features a family BBQ, a Family Fun Center, seminars and Sunday's Gospel Explosion. Also included are tickets to several Orlando area theme parks.

The National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners
This is the preeminent organization for African-American meeting planners. They hold several conferences throughout they year. Their last event was the Fall Educational Conference to be held in Toronto in 2010. Over 300 people attended the premiere event for CVBs, hoteliers and others looking to network with African-American meeting planners.

Black College Football
Black College Football is a major draw for our Historically Black Colleges. These games are more than just a gridiron heavy weight bout, they are events in and of themselves that over several days that includes great food, dance, battles of the bands and so much more. One of the larger events is the Bank of America Atlanta Football Classic run by 100 Black Men of America's Atlanta Chapter featuring two HBCUs. Sixty-five thousand people head to the Georgia Dome for the game. The most recent game's economic impact on Atlanta was approximately $26 million and 2,349 total room nights.

Other Prominent African American Gatherings with 1,000 Attendees or More
National Brotherhood of Skiers
National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives
100 Black Men of America
Ebenezer AME Church
Coalition of Black Trade Unionist
General Grand Masonic Congress
National Black Nurses Association - Annual Conference
National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers
Tuskegee Airman National Conference
Sigma Gamma Rho
National Association of Real Estate Brokers
National Association of Black Journalists
Church of Christ National Crusade
Kappa Alpha Psi
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity
Improved Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks of the World (IBPOEW)
ASM Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students
Advertisement