Our History

Highlights from NCCJ St. Louis's history:

1927: The National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ) was founded.

1930: A two-day NCCJ seminar was held at the Hotel Jefferson in St. Louis. Missouri Governor Henry S. Caulfield was the Toastmaster.

1935: A group of 42 top civic and religious leaders became the original members of the St. Louis chapter of NCCJ. 

1938: NCCJ promoted good will and cooperation by sending teams of rabbis, priests and ministers to St. Louis high schools.

1945-8:  NCCJ launched the cooperative youth program in 30 public and private St. Louis high schools.

1949: The Intergroup Youth Conferences program was initiated in St. Louis. This program provided a training ground and infrastructure for leadership during the 1950s and 1960s civil rights movement in St. Louis. 

1954: Dorothy Bryant was employed by NCCJ, becoming one of the first African American secretaries in downtown St. Louis. She worked at NCCJ for 33 years.

1955: The Police-Community Relations program was initiated. This program was a major force for improving police-community relations in St. Louis for the next two decades, eventually employing staff and including a Rookie Training program and Officer Friendly programs. The first Missouri Police-Community Relations Institute was developed and sponsored by NCCJ.

1958: The Breakfast Dialogue Group was formed, running over 30 years, the longest running group of its kind.

Late 1950s: NCCJ started various dialogue groups, including a Living Room Dialogue Group for Women and a Seminary Dialogue Group for clergy and educators. The Rearing Children of Good Will project was also started—a program that gave birth to the St. Louis Panel of American Women, whose programs throughout the city contributed to interreligious and intergroup relations.

1963: The Breakfast Dialogue Group became integrated when Howard Woods, publisher of the St. Louis Sentinel and Dr. John B. Ervin, Dean of the School of Education at Washington University, were invited to join.

1967: NCCJ honored Cardinal Joseph Ritter, Donald Danforth, and Howard F. Baer with what are now known as Brotherhood Sisterhood Awards.

1978: Three women—Frankie M. Freeman, Henrietta Freedman, and Margaret Sonnenday—were invited to join the Breakfast Dialogue Group

Understanding and shared experiences must occur as an important first step toward accepting and celebrating diversity.
— St. Louis Task Force on Racial Polarization, 1989

Late 1970s: NCCJ was strongly involved in working for a constructive resolution to the St. Louis school desegregation suit which resulted in the 1982 voluntary city and county school desegregation plan.

1986: NCCJ co-sponsored with the Dr. M. L. King Missouri Support Group and the Dr. M. L. King Holiday Committee, Inc. activities celebrating the first national Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.

1987: NCCJ initiated the interracial, interfaith Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfasts, addressing current issues in intergroup relations and attended by approximately 70 leaders each year. 

1987: NCCJ was represented on the Confluence-St. Louis Task Force on Racial Polarization, which later published "A New Spirit for St. Louis—Valuing Diversity." Recommendations for ongoing dialogue and education of the community included the specific work of NCCJ and became the impetus for the development of new dialogue processes and the creation of leadership institutes focusing on race and difference.

1980s: Interfaith seminars and conferences were a central part of NCCJ’s emphasis and work, holding the The Rabbi Ferdinand Isserman Memorial Seminar, the Cardinal Ritter Memorial Seminar and the Dr. O. Walter Wagner Seminar.

1992: Anytown Youth Leadership Institute was created as a six-day residential training program for high school youth.

1994: The Dismantling Racism Institute was delivered for the first time.

1995: CommUnity-St. Louis was founded, an initiative grounded in an admission that people of color are systematically denied the quality of life promised to all citizens.

1999: NCCJ changed its name to the National Conference for Community and Justice.

1999: MLK Holiday Breakfasts were changed to NCCJ’s National Conversation on Race, Ethnicity and Culture.

1999: NCCJ St. Louis organized its first Walk As One walk-a-thon to support youth programming. 

2001: The Dismantling Racism Institute for Educators was delivered for the first time.

2005: The St. Louis regional office incorporated as its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, no longer part of a national organization. 

2008: Dismantling Racism Institute expanded to include multiple identities, becoming the Inclusion Institute.

2010: Piloted the ALLY Program and the Inclusion Institute for Healthcare.

2011: FaciliTrainer Certification Program was created to certify trainers in NCCJ's core curriculum.

2015: Launched Walk the Talk Weekend and rebranded NCCJ St. Louis, with the tagline "Serious education. Bridging differences."

2016: Established the Certified Diversity FaciliTrainer (CDFT)™ credential.