The Progressive National Baptist Convention, Incorporated (PNBC) is a convention of African-AmericanBaptists emphasizing civil rights and social justice.
It formed in 1961 after civil-rights-oriented Baptist ministers, led by Martin Luther King, Jr. failed to replace Joseph H. Jackson, the long-time head of the the National Baptist Convention (NBCUSA). The older group stood aloof from the Civil Rights Movement that was often led by local Baptist ministers. The dissidents nominated Gardner Taylor as president of the NBCUSA. After an hour-long fist fight between reformers and standpatters, in which one eminent elderly minister was accidentally killed, Jackson's supporters won. King was purged from the NBCUSA and his goal of using the united power of the black Baptist community to promote civil rights came to nothing. His defeat prompted the formation of the new group.
Thirty-three delegates from 14 states gathered at Zion Baptist Church in Cincinnati to discuss the issue. The vote to organize passed by one vote. L. Venchael Booth, pastor of Zion Baptist in Cincinnati, was the unheralded founder of the movement as documented by former Christianity Today Associate Editor, Edward Gilbreath. The convention was originally formed as the "Progressive Baptist Convention" and word "National" was added to the name in 1962. The Convention has grown from the original founding numbers to member congregations throughout the United States, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa.
Sessions of the Convention are held annually in August and recently celebrated their 50th Annual Session in Washington, DC in August 2011. Headquarters are in Washington, D.C.. The PBNC has partnered with the predominantly white American Baptist Churches in the USA since 1970. It is a member of the National Council of Churches and the Baptist World Alliance. In 1995, one study asserted the Convention had 741 affiliated churches, while another claimed they had over 2,500,000 members in 2000 churches. A number of the churches are dually aligned with the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc.
The PNBC ordains women, a practice not universally followed by Baptist groups.