The Black Male Development Symposium was initiated by the leadership of Chicago’s Third World Press, one of the oldest African-American publishing houses in the United States. The venue was established as a national tour that promoted community discussions on the plight of African American Males (AAM).
The symposiums were held in Chicago, IL; Columbus, Oh; Detroit, MI; Harlem, NY; St. Louis, MO; Birmingham, AL; Atlanta, GA; Minneapolis, MN; Memphis, TN, and Little Rock, AK. The first Philadelphia symposium was held March 2004 as the community outreach project of the Annual Pennsylvania Black Conference on Higher Education. The attendance at the first symposium was expected to be 300-400 attendees. Those numbers were surpassed with well over 700 attendees.
The simple adage “If you build it they will come,” continues to drive the attendance numbers of the symposium that now boosts well over 1100 attendees during the annual event. It must be noted that the Philadelphia symposium, to date, is the longest running and the largest attended BMDS event nationally. This is due to the continued and overwhelming support that the event has received every year and the sad and inescapable truth that AAM live at great risk and they, their families and communities are eagerly searching for strategies of survival and empowerment. The Symposium provides a forum for practical solutions by providing presenters and interactive workshops to assist attendees in developing realistic strategies and concrete recommendations that they can put into practice in their respective communities. The BMDS becomes a place of finding practical models of solutions and not just a forum for pontification and “drive-by conversation.”
BMDS is currently a non-profit organization under the auspices of The Village Builders Resource Network, with Dr. Doreen E. Loury as the Executive Director/Founder.