During the 1968 Presidential election, Alabama's Democratic Party supported the former Governor George Wallace who was the presidential nominee of the American Independent Party. Supporters of the national Democratic Party nominee, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, left the party to support the national slate.
In 1968 led by John L. Cashin, Jr., a dentist from Huntsville who had been active in the voter registration group the Alabama Democratic Conference, Democrats loyal to Humphrey and national Democratic Party formed the NDPA as a vehicle to field a slate of electors pledged to him and not to Wallace. Although national Democratic Party supported Humphrey, Wallace was put on ballot in his home state as official Democratic nominee. Also, in 1964, the Democratic Party of Alabama's electors were unpledged instead of being pledged to Lyndon Johnson, a moot point since Alabama voted in large numbers for Barry Goldwater.
There were precedent for the behavior of the state party machinery such as when Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond was the Democratic nominee in 1948 in some southern states despite Harry S. Truman being the Democratic nominee. In 1960, Democrat John F. Kennedy was on the ballot, but the state was carried by a split slate in which most electors were unpledged, opting for Virginia Senator Harry F. Byrd in the electoral college. In 1964, the Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson was not in ballot in Alabama, and an unpledged electors slate was officially nominated by Alabama's Democrats.
At the time, Alabama listed all the electors on the ballot but not the Presidential candidate, so Democratic Presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey was supported by the National Democratic slate (whose most popular elector won 54144 votes) and an "Alabama Independent Democrat" slate (whose most popular elector won 142435 votes). Wallace was supported by the Democratic Party of Alabama and unaffiliated American Independent electors (they were unaffiliated since the totals of different electors couldn't be added together). In the election for the US Senate, Democratic candidate Jim Allen won 638,774 votes, to 201,227 votes for Republican Perry Hooper and 72,699 votes for National Democrat Robert P. Schwenn.
Wallace garnered 65.86% of the Alabama vote, with Humphrey coming second with 18.72%.
During the Alabama gubernatorial election, 1970, John Cashin ran as the NDPA candidate for governor against George Wallace, getting 15% of the vote. Wallace was easily re-elected with 637,046 (74.51%) votes against Cashin who won only 125,491 (14.68%).
The American bald eagle was the symbol of the NDPA, which was often opposed by the Democratic Rooster in local Democratic elections.
The party became a prominent voice for African American voting rights and an important player in local politics in Black-dominated communities such as Greene County, Hale County, Perry County, Lowndes County and Dallas County, although it failed to make a lasting impact on state politics.
The NDPA was able to get around a hundred local officials elected, especially in the western part of the state. The political scientists Hanes Walton Jr. and William H. Boone cited the NDPA as an example of a successful sub-national African American political party.
The importance of the NDPA must be viewed in terms of the impact that it had on politics in the Alabama Black Belt. A number of elected officials credited Cashin and the NDPA for their success including Probate Judge William McKinley Branch, Sheriff without a Gun Thomas Gilmore and Peter Kirksey. Even after the revolution of the mid-1960s that brought these pioneers to power in Greene County, the shadow of the eagles hovered over Greene County for a generation.