A little over a year before this particular event was held at the Rainbow Sign, around 8,000 black leaders gathered in Gary, Indiana for the First National Black Convention in order to generate a unified nation-wide black political platform. Though tensions among the delegates present did mar the convention in important respects and made reaching a consensus difficult, the significance of thousands of black public figures chanting “It’s nation time!” cannot be overstated.

The mayors who made the trip to Berkeley were doubtless inspired by the same growing consciousness among black Americans—the sense that it was time to coalesce around a bid for black political power.