WERE YOU THERE? NAREB 71st Annual Black Realtists Convention in Atlanta

(in photo above Stacey Abrams, Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate with current President of NAREB - Jeffrey Hicks and past presidents of NAREB) (in photo above Stacey Abrams, Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate with current President of NAREB - Jeffrey Hicks and past presidents of NAREB)

The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) 71st Annual Black Realtists Convention, held on July 24-29, 2018, was a monumental event. The conference celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act, and included appearances by many living legends from the Civil Rights era, as well as Stacey Abrams, Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate. Over 1000 Realtists and special guests were in attendance for this annual event, held this year in Atlanta, Georgia.

NAREB was formed in 1947 to secure the right to equal housing opportunities regardless of race, creed or color. NAREB has advocated for legislation and supported or instigated legal challenges that ensure fair housing, sustainable homeownership, and access to credit for Black Americans along with promoting access to business opportunity for Black real estate professionals. NAREB annually publishes the State of Housing in Black America (SHIBA) report. It is the oldest minority trade organization in America.

Members of Sacramento Realtist AssociationPleshette Robertson, Chief Editor of THE HUB Magazine and Founder of Sacculturalhub.com from Sacramento, California was among the attendees, and shared her experiences from this memorable event . This was Pleshette’s first visit to HOTlanta, and it didn’t disappoint. “Whatta fantastic adventure! So glad I decided to come and cover the NAREB 71st Annual Black Realtists Convention.  I was encouraged to come by my client and close girlfriend, Zoritha Thompson (Real Estate Broker & Realtist from Sacramento), a Realtist Mogul who has been in the real estate business for 27 years (serving as the the President of the Sacramento Realtist Association in past years). Zoritha started attending NAREB conventions with her late business partner, Carolyn "Jean" Goree.  I'm a huge fan of Zoritha and all what she does to educate people about the wealth benefits of investing and owning your own home. Zoritha has been a huge supporter of Sac Hub at the beginning when we hatched Sac Cultural Hub in 2002, and was one of our first major small business clients.” 

Members of Sacramento Realtist AssociationDuring their cross-country flight that included Sheila Bennett (Loan Officer & Real Estate Broker and current President of the Sacramento Realtist Association); Terrelle Keys – (Realtor with Goree & Thompson Real Estate); and Vicki Blakley (Administrative Manager of Sac Cultural Hub), Zoritha had time to reflect on her long-time association with NAREB. “On our way to the NAREB Realtist Conference in Atlanta, I'm sitting here reminiscing about my late business partner, Carolyn Goree (CLICK HERE to see In Loving Memory poem she wrote) . I remember when she used to drag me to the Realtist events 27 years ago. Little did I know it would change my life. Now I'm dragging Terrelle Keys (a young Realtor she is mentoring) around with me like she used to do.....So thankful she came into my life!”

Pleshette passionately believes homeownership is the cornerstone of building wealth and inheritance and stability of the Black family, and strongly supports the mission of NAREB. "I thank the Lord for my late grandmother, Arden Brown, who helped my mom buy and secure her home in East Palo Alto in the 1970s and who was a DRILL SARGEANT when it came to telling me how important it was for me to buy a home for the stability of my family. She encouraged me so much, and was with me on several occasions when I was looking for and purchased a home in Sacramento in 2001. My grandmother purchased her home in East Palo Alto, California, in 1961 for around $13,000 and her 2 sisters who have passed away had purchased homes in San Francisco and Daly City.”

NAREB does an incredible job educating, training, and empowering Black Realtists in their profession. Their service and purpose of "Building Black Wealth through Homeownership” across the nation is commendable.  NAREB set an initiative in 2015, with increasing homeownership of 2 million new black homeowners in five years by 2020. Real estate professionals from across the U.S. came for classes and workshop sessions that took place throughout the conference which included:  

  • Becoming a Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist
  • Leveraging Your Real Estate Expertise to Obtain Federal Contracts
  • Building A Strong Foundation as an Investor
  • How To Become a "Receiver" and Earn Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars
  • Real Talk on Development  Funding: Tax Credits and Bonds

NAREB had an impressive Youth Academy Program schedule, with over 100 kids in attendance.  They were treated to an exclusive agenda of activities planned specifically for ages 13-17 years during the conference.   Workshops included:

  • Paths to Success: "Career and Job Opportunities"
  • Wealth Workshop
  • Power of Choices & Consequences
  • Secret to Success in Education
  • Financial Literacy: Becoming a Smarter Spender
  • Knowing Who You Are

Activities for the teens included a tour of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Museum, Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center and Aquatic Center, and a field trip to Six Flags Over Georgia Amusement & White Water Park.

The convention began with pre-conference activities on Tuesday, July 24th with board and membership meetings.  On Wednesday July 25th members and guests gathered for the NAREB Golf Tournament at Cannongate Golf Club in Sharpsburg, Georgia.   

The official day of starting the convention began on Thursday, July 26 (Day 1) with the opening of the Exhibitor Showcase and testimonies from the State of Housing in Black America (SHIBA). Establishing and increasing homeownership is the cornerstone to building wealth in the Black community, so it is extremely important for NAREB to utilize faith-based and civic relationships as one of the vehicles to increase membership, increase sales and increase the Black homeownership rate. "Black homeownership is the first, and most essential step to build economic strength within our communities," said NAREB President Jeffrey Hicks, who is based in Atlanta.  "We've lost more ground than we've gained over the past 50 years.  Whether through unmeasurable losses of equity during the country's last economic meltdown, consistently high unemployment rates, unfavorable federal and state policies restricting affordable homeownership, or systemic mortgage lending barriers, Black homeownership -- and therefore our wealth-building potential as a people --remain diminished.” Hicks challenged the Black community to continue working on the 2015 initiative to add 2 million new Black Home Owners in 5 years. "NAREB remains committed to its building Black Wealth through Home Ownership initiative - 2 million New Black Homeowners in 5 Years (#2Mn5).  As NAREB’s 30th President, I am committed to lead our collaboration with corporate entities, governmental agencies, colleges, universities, and especially with the most trusted institution in our community which are our faith-based organizations in achieving the American Dream.”   

The evening concluded with a welcome reception “White Party Meet & Greet Welcome Reception,” complete with Southern Shrimp and Grits, “old school” music, and plenty of dancing and groovin’.

Day 2 - Friday, July 27 of the convention began with a legislative breakfast, featuring Keynote Speaker Lawrence Parks Senior Vice President, External, Legislative, & External Affairs, Federal Affairs, Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. The highlight of the day was the Fireside Chats with Legends. Attendees were taken back through time of 50-100 years ago listening to the struggles and journeys of civil rights legends and leaders speaking on the fight for fair housing for blacks, the power of being self-employed, leadership and building partnerships; and the significance of attending college. Sharing their vivid stories were:

  • Reverend Dr. C.T. Vivian (Civil rights Legend) - Founder of C.T. Vivian Leadership Institute, Inc.-Atlanta, Georgia
  • William Robbie (Fair Housing Legend) and Past President of NAREB-Atlanta
  • Xernona Clayton, Civil Rights Leader and Broadcasting Executive - Atlanta
  • Evelyn Reeves, Past President of NAREB and Fair Housing Advocate - Los Angeles

Xermona Clayton shared her life experiences in assisting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his wife and his family. Some of the memorable quotes from this Living Legend:

  • “All people have a right to the promise of America!”
  • “I believe God places you in certain places, looks out after us and for us. And puts us in places.”
  • “Dr. King never did anything without a plan! He would not move until he felt like the plan would work.”

Ms. Clayton also shared some lesser-known stories about Dr. King: Before Dr. King left for that fateful Memphis trip, he shared that he felt that the country was not ripe for what they were trying to do, and thought that after this last trip he might slow down or change direction. When he was leaving, his children begged him not to go, even climbing on Xermona’s car trying to stop them from going. It was the last time they saw him alive. When MLK was assassinated, President Nixon called the Atlanta newspapers to communicate to the King family that he wished to visit them and express his grief over Dr. Kings passing, as he knew they were on different sides politically. They agreed to allow him to come without press or an entourage. He came in an unmarked car, came back to see Mrs. King., then pulled out an envelope – he had prepared a personal check that would educate all four of MLK’s children.  Ms. Clayton shared that many people called to ask how they could help (after MLK’s death), but one call was different – Robert Kennedy. Late at night he called Xermona with a plan: “it is obvious that you need some telephone service, so the phone company is coming to install 9 telephone lines in your home.” He also sent a plane to get Xermona’s husband from Memphis to bring him home to Atlanta. He asked hotels to block all rooms and not book them without Xermona’s approval! Mr. Kennedy knew they needed rooms for people. He anticipated all the needs and made plans so much easier to accomplish.

Xermona reflected that 50 years after MLK’s death we are still honoring him – what kind of man lived a life that we would be celebrating him 50 years after his death? He really was an extraordinary man. She respected MLK because he loved everyone – he saw no difference in people.

Later in the day, Evelyn Reeves, and 98 yr old William Robie, also shared a wealth of rich and priceless history – click here to see live video.

Zoritha stated:  “NAREB is celebrating the 50th Year of the Fair Housing Act....paying homage to those that paved the way for me and others in being able to be treated fairly! The rich history is so amazing! It has been a touching and very emotional day!”

At the Past Presidents' of NAREB luncheon, attendees convened to honor the past leaders in Democracy in Housing for African Americans in our country. Attendees celebrated the wisdom, leadership, commitment, and courage of what these NAREB leaders have done to provide education and guidance for building black wealth through homeownership.  

CLICK HERE to see one of the monumental highlights of the NAREB convention – THE HUB’s press interview with Stacey Abrams, Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate, prior to her Keynote Presentation at the Fair Housing 50th Anniversary Commemorative Gala on Friday night.

Each attendee received a beautiful REFLECTIONS program to take with them as a reminder of the NAREB journey through the past 71 years, and the incredible amount of hardship and effort it took to get to where we are today. Highlights of this program included many thoughtful provoking letters from past NAREB presidents and the following timeline:

  • 1947 NAREB Founded
  • 1968 Fair Housing Act: President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, prohibiting discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing
  • 1977 Community Reinvestment Act
  • 1988 Amendment of the Fair Housing Act
  • 1990 In May 1990, NAREB's Board of Directors approved the signing of a Voluntary Marketing greement between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and NAREB.  The document served as a mandate to the assurance of free fair housing choice for all Americans as written in the Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, known as the Fair Housing Act. This agreement was executed on November 14, 1990 in Washington, DC by Jack Kemp, HUD Secretary and Evelyn A. Reeves, NAREB President.  
  • 2017 70th Anniversary of NAREB
  • 2018 50th Anniversary of Fair Housing Act
CLICK HERE to download the visual art timeline.

Lynell Holden of Holden Realty Homes with National Recording Artist Jennifer Halliday Day 4 – Saturday, July 28 – attendees were blessed with a live performance from Gospel Recording Artist - Zebulon Ellis at the Prayer Breakfast at NAREB 71st Annual Convention ("Love Never Fails"; Corinthians 13:13) and Keynote Speaker Dr. Jasper Williams, Jr. Pastor Emeritus of Salem Bible Church with a most recent endeavor as founder of African American Churches Transforming Society (A.A.C.T.S.), a community-based organization envisioned to help revitalize churches, strengthen families and rebuild communities through churches working in concert with social and governmental agencies.  

In photo above: Member of Sacramento Realtist Association, Lynnell Holden of Holden Homes Realty with Jennifer Holliday.

Steve Peterson, CAREB President with Ashley Thomas III, 3rd VP of NAREB On Saturday night Jennifer Holliday, National Recording Artist gave a grand performance at NAREB’s 71st Annual Realtists Awards & Installation Dinner.  CAREB President, Steve Petersen stated: "It was an Honor to see my Chairman, my Boi, my NAREB mentor Ashley Thomas III get Installed as the 3rd VP of NAREB. No REALTIST works harder than him, he truly deserved this. Congrats Ashley!!!"

Sheila also stated: “Here at 71st NAREB Annual Convention in ATL with my fellow Realtists! There was a time when Black Americans were not allowed to be Realtors which birthed the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) and the Realtist designation. NAREB stands for all-inclusive democracy in housing. When it comes to homeownership African-Americans rank behind each of the other four major groups. We still have work to do today. Know your history so you don’t repeat it! #democracyinhousing #buildingwealth #staywoke”

Joanne Williams with Stacey Abrams Zoritha stated: “Love my Realtist Family....having a good time learning, networking and socializing here in ATL at NAREB Conference!”

This year's convention concluded on Sunday, July 29th with the Empire Board of Realtists Community Day Corporate Workship and Community Wealth Building Day at Changing A Generation Full Gospel Baptist Church in Atlanta.

Pleshette thanks and appreciates Joanne Williams (Principal Associate at Barrington Associates, Inc.) who was the Media Director for this year’s 71st Annual NAREB convention for allowing Sac Cultural Hub Media Company to participate in this year’s news coverage of this year’s conference activities and festivities.  To see photos from this year’s event go to:


The 71st Annual NAREB Convention was supported by a host of corporate sponsors that included:  PLATINUM: Wells Fargo; DIAMOND - Bank of America; Gold: Chase, Citibank, Radian; SILVER - Freddie Mac, National Association of Realtors, US Bank; BRONZE - BBVA Compass, Equity, Fannie Mae Union Bank; Corporate - FHL Bank San Francisco, Home Mortgage, Nationstar; and SUPPORTING sponsors: ADT, NID, VantageScore, EastWest Bank.

71st Annual NAREB Convention in Atlanta, Georgia



DID YOU KNOW? During her stay in Atlanta, Pleshette was able to tour the outside of Tyler Perry Studios, a beautiful piece of property on a whopping 358 acres! As she reflected on her time at the NAREB Conference, she was inspired. “OUR PAST HISTORY IS SO VERY RICH & TODAY'S BLACK POWER IS INCREDIBLE & PRICELESS; we are creating and making history that should be taught in all school curriculum!”

Pleshette Robertson with Heather NiemanContributed by Heather Niemann –  Writer and Graphic Designer for THE HUB Magazine/Sacculturalhub.com and Owner of Tingible Design  – wife and mother of 3 teenage children (2 daughters and 1 son), middle school art and technology teacher, and resident of Peachtree Corners, Georgia.