Nathaniel Exum

Black legislators draw attention; Politicians, diplomats among those visiting national conference

The nation's largest gathering of African-American state legislators closed last night in Baltimore after four days that featured political pitches from Democratic presidential candidates and an appeal from Maryland students to reconsider prayer in schools.

"We've had an outstanding conference," said Del. Nathaniel T. Oaks, a Baltimore Democrat and chairman of the 23rd conference of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, as he welcomed legislators to a banquet at the Hyatt Regency.

Oaks said about 400 black legislators from 41 states discussed topics ranging from trade with Africa to allegations of police harassment of black drivers and the need for...