The delegation to the 2008 Democratic National Convention is being called the most diverse in Party history, and African-Americans are playing a central role. More African-American delegates have been elected to this year’s Convention than ever before. African-American speakers will be featured nightly in roles from roles on key committees and as senior leaders on the Convention’s management team.Below are some key facts about African American attendance and participation during the convention.
There is a 4.1% percent increase in the number of African-American delegates elected to the Convention from 2004 to 2008. 24.5 percent of delegates elected in 2008 are African-American (1,087 in total), compared to 20.4 percent in 2004
Convention Speakers (partial list)
Monday: One Nation – Speakers include Michelle Obama, Craig Robinson and Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL)
Tuesday: Renewing America’s Promise – Speakers include Gov. Deval Patrick and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC).
Dr. Cynthia Hale will deliver the Invocation.
Wednesday: Securing American Future – Speakers include House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (SC)
Thursday: Change You Can Believe In – Speakers include Senator Barack Obama
Convention Standing Committees
The Credentials Committee is charged with coordinating issues around the selection of delegates and alternates to the
Convention. The committee will issue a report that is the first official item of business at the Convention. African-
Americans serving on this committee include The Honorable Alexis Herman who is a Committee Co-chair, Baltimore
Mayor Sheila Dixon and Christopher Edley, Jr., Dean of the Berkley School of Law at the University of California.
The Platform Committee is responsible for drafting and recommending a proposed National Platform for approval at the
Convention. African-Americans serving on this committee include Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick who is a
Committee Co-chair, Colorado Senate President Peter Groff, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, Trenton
Mayor Douglas Palmer and National Education Association President Reginald Weaver.
The Rules Committee is responsible for proposing the Permanent Rules for the Convention, adopting the proposed
Convention agenda and making recommendations for permanent Convention officers – all addressed as the second
official item of business at the Convention. African-Americans serving on this committee include Columbus Mayor
Michael Coleman, Bishop David Evans, Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson and Bishop Vashti McKenzie.
Special Convention Programs
The Interfaith Gathering will kick off the 2008 Convention on Sunday, August 24, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. at the Wells Fargo
Theater. The gathering will include religious leaders from many faith communities, including Bishop Charles E. Blake of
the Church of God in Christ, and musical artists such as Grammy-award winning artists Richard Smallwood & Vision.
This event will commemorate the 45th anniversary of the March on Washington on Thursday, August 28 and will include
prominent African American leaders including Martin Luther King III, Rev. Al Sharpton and Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.
Meetings of the Black Caucus will take place Monday, August 25 and Wednesday, August 27 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00
p.m. MDT at the Colorado Convention Center. All caucus meetings are open to the public and members of the media.
Monday: Urban Renewal, Quality Education and Job Creation (10:00 a.m.)
The program will feature a panel of experts in the areas of education and economic development who will engage in a
discussion of Senator Obama’s plan for the renewal of Urban America and the importance of investing in our schools
and infrastructure as a means for creating high quality, high wage jobs. The panel will include the President and CEO of
National Urban League Marc Morial, former Mayor of New Orleans; Hon. Michael Coleman, Mayor of Columbus, Ohio;
and Geoffrey Canada, President and CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone.
Monday: Young Leaders Summit – Building the Next Generation of Democratic Leaders(11:00 a.m.)
Senator Obama and the DNC will recognize young leaders from across the country already making a difference in the
lives of their communities in the spirit of Senator Obama’s message of activism, cooperation and change. Panelists
include Kerry Washington, National Co-chair, Vote for Change voter registration program; Alisha Thomas Morgan, the
first African American elected to the Georgia House of Representatives from Cobb County; and Ephren W. Taylor II, the
youngest African-American CEO of any publicly traded company ever – City Capital Corporation
Wednesday: Training the Trainer – Organizing That Works
The Obama campaign has developed one of the most successful grassroots campaigns in the history of American
politics. Featured participants will include Donna Brazile, President and CEO of Brazile and Associates and national
political commentator. This session will provide an overview of the campaign’s activities from the primary season and
insight into its plans for the fall.
Senior Staff of Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC)
African Americans also occupy key leadership roles on the DNCC, the official arm of the Democratic Party responsible for
planning and organizing the 2008 Convention in Denver. Key staff members include Convention CEO Leah D. Daughtry;
Travis Dredd, Deputy CEO for Inside the Hall Operations; Christian Duffus, Deputy CEO for Finance and Administration;
Cameron Moody, Deputy CEO for Outside the Hall Operations; Tina Akintayo, Director of Housing; Yolanda Caraway,
Director of Podium Operations; Tasha Cole, Director of Political Affairs; Atif Harden, Co-Director, Colorado Convention
Center and Damon Jones, Director of Press Relations. Mayor Shirley Franklin of Atlanta serves as Co-chair of the 2008