100 Black Men of Charlotte’s History

On May 17, 1991, Lenny Springs, Ronald Fisher, and David C. Belton met in the First Union Atrium in Charlotte to discuss the possibility of forming a chapter of 100 Black Men in Charlotte.  Lenny was already a member of the 100 Black Men in Atlanta.  David and Ronald wanted to start a chapter in Charlotte and convinced Lenny that there was a sufficient pool of men in the area.  Each men then submitted a prospective list of members.

On June 18th, a small but excited group of individuals decided to pursue the idea of forming a Charlotte interest group and extended an invitation to the
Nathaniel (Nate) Goldston , III, national President of 100 Black Men of America, to travel to Charlotte and explain the organization in detail. By July 29, 1991, the group, now composed of thirty five prospective members, held its second organizational meeting on the 12th floor auditorium inside Two First Union Center. National President Goldston presented a video of Atlanta’s “Project Success” mentoring program featuring 36 students and distributed printed materials to describe the national organizational structure, the 100 Black Men of Greater Charlotte Informational Package (July 19, 2010) 9 certification requirements for the formation of a new chapter and the expectations once engaged as a functioning chapter. Lenny Springs led a general discussion on the items needed to address the formation of a chapter. Membership applications were distributed.

Charlotte Chapter Installation

The Chapter Installation Ceremony was conducted Sunday, December 22, 1991 on the 41st floor of One First Union Center. The 45 new charter members were composed of bankers, entrepreneurs, educators, politicians, lawyers, doctors and other professionals. The Charlotte Chapter became the 24th nationwide and only chapter in the Carolinas. One month later at Johnson C. Smith University, the organization kicked off its “Movement of Youth” mentoring program for 45 students, ages 9 to 14, most of whom were enrolled at Cochrane Middle School. The goal was to raise enough money to send each student who graduated from high school to the college of his choice. President Lenny Springs was quoted in the Charlotte Post as saying, “It’s important that we as black men who have been where these students are, who have had some success, reach down and extend a helping hand.”

Charlotte Chapter Presidents

Lenny Springs
Chairman Emeritus & Founding President

Kendal Watts

Kevin Patterson

Vernon Willis

Kraig Holt

Sam Belnavis

Donnie Koonce

Brian Willis

Steven Myers

Charles Walker
Current President

Charlotte Chapter Accolades

Awarded Chapter of the Year in 1997, 1998 and 1999 by 100 Black Men of America;
Flourishing Chapter from 2004 to 2008; Large Chapter of the Year-Economic Development 2010


The 100 Black Men of America’s History

The overall concept of the 100 began in New York in 1963 when a group of concerned African American men began to meet to explore ways of improving conditions in their community. The group eventually adopted the name, “100 Black Men, Inc.” as a sign of solidarity. These men envisioned an organization that would implement programs designed to improve the quality of life for African Americans and other minorities. They also wished to ensure the future of their communities by aiming an intense number of resources toward youth development. These members were successful black men from various walks of life. These visionaries were business and industry leaders such as David Dinkins, Robert Mangum, Dr. William Hayling, Nathaniel Goldston III, Livingston Wingate, Andrew Hatcher and Jackie Robinson.

Dr. William Hayling, a member of the NY organization, had relocated to Newark, NJ and sought to replicate the 100’s impact in that area. In 1976 Dr. Hayling formed the 100 Black Men of New Jersey. A movement had been born. Men across the country began to form 100 Black Men organizations to leverage their collective talents and resources. Chapters were formed in Los Angeles, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area, Nassau/Suffolk, Alton and Sacramento.

On September 21, 1983, a three-hour meeting was held at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., among representatives from the Los Angeles, New York, New Jersey, and St. Louis chapters. This meeting was to evaluate the feasibility of establishing a National Organization for 100 Black Men. This meeting was held during the annual weekend meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Representatives of St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area, Nassau/Suffolk and Sacramento met for a second time in Las Vegas, May 11-13, 1984, at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. The men engaged in extensive discussions about the most effective structure to support the growth and governance of 100 Black Men chapters.

The third meeting was held May 16-18, 1986 at the Flamingo Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas. At this meeting it was agreed that the best model for a newly-formed national organization was a federation governance model. This model leveraged human and financial resources, and supported chapter growth while preserving chapter autonomy. It was also voted that a National Steering Committee would include the Presidents of each chapter, along with two members from each chapter.

A final meeting was held on October 2, 1986 at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington. Chapters represented were: Los Angeles, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Atlanta and New Jersey. The chapters decided that the name of the organization would be: “100 Black Men of America, Inc.”

The following individuals were elected as officers:

Dr. William Hayling
Los Angeles -President

Moses Gray
Indianapolis – Secretary

Oliver Lofton, Esq.
New Jersey – Vice-President

Jesse C. Swanigan 
St. Louis -Treasurer

On May 27, 1987, in Atlanta, Georgia, this newly formed organization introduced itself to the nation during its first national conference. Noted speakers included the late Alex P. Haley and the late Honorable Maynard H. Jackson.

In 1989, Nathaniel Goldston became the organization’s second National President and grew the organization to 43 chapters. Thomas W. Dortch Jr. was elected the third National President in 1994. That year he spearheaded an aggressive plan entitled “Four For The Future.” TM Since that time, the organization has strategically channeled its resources toward programs that support these important areas: Mentoring, Education, Health & Wellness, and Economic Development. The 100 has identified these areas as being critical to the future of African Americans.

In 1997 Chairman Dortch expanded the organization internationally with the chartering of the Birmingham, England chapter. Additional international chapters followed; Nassau Bahamas, Goree Island, Senegal, Kingston, Jamaica, U.S. Virgin Islands, and London, England chapters. It was also in 1997 that the organization purchased its World Headquarters building on historic Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 2004, Albert E. Dotson Jr., Esq. was elected the fourth National President. He has focused the organization on Leadership Development in all of the Four For The Future areas. Today the organization has grown to over 105 chapters with more than 10,000 members who continue to strive to improve the quality of life in our communities and enhance the educational and economic opportunities for African Americans. 100 Black Men of America, Inc. has impacted the lives of over 100,000 youth who participant annually in its mentoring and youth development programs. With a mission to improve the quality of life and enhance educational opportunities for African Americans, members of the 100 continue to serve as a strong force in the world by overcoming the cultural and financial obstacles that have limited the achievements of some African Americans, particularly young African American males. Members of the 100 have made outstanding progress excelling as corporate leaders, community leaders and as independent business owners.

Learn About the 100 Black Men National Organization

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