In Miami, Florida on July 7, 1971, the Teamsters National Black Caucus held its first meeting at the Playboy Plaza Hotel. The meeting's goal was to bring about a change to the Teamsters International. New passages were entered on the pages of the history of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Robert Simpson of Teamsters Local 743 in Chicago was the spokesman for the delegates at the meeting. Simpson said that blacks had been omitted from high paying leadership positions at the Teamsters International level. Simpson also noted that "Blacks serve as special organizers in times of Black crises without the salary or title." General President Frank E. Fitzsimmons and several Vice Presidents agreed to form a committee to rectify the problem. The General President promised that blacks would be considered for vacancies occurring on the general executive board before the 1976 Teamsters Convention.
In September, 1975, John H. Cleveland, President of Teamsters Local 730 in Washington, D.C. became the first appointed chairperson of this newly formed organization. Cleveland later became the first African American Vice President of the IBT. In 1984, Edward "Doc" James was appointed Chairman and ran un-opposed until October 1993. In January, 1994, Claude Brown was appointed to serve the remaining term of Doc James. In September, 1998, Chris Silvera became the first Chairman elected by the membership of the TNBC and was reelected in August of 2003.
Chris Silvera resigned in December 2006 and Terry Freeman was appointed from Vice Chair to Chairman to serve his remaining term. Albert R. Mixon was elected Chairman in 2008 and took office in 2009. Mixon was reelected to a second term and served until 2016, he also became an IBT Vice President. Ferline Buie, the first female to serve as Chairman of the TNBC was appointed to serve Mixon remaining term. She was also an IBT Vice President-at- Large and President of JC 55. James "Curb" Curbeam was elected Chairman in 2018 at the 43rd Annual Educational Conference; the term commences on January 1, 2019. Curbeam is also the Southern Region Organizer Coordinator for the IBT.
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