We report the first multisite, multicomponent community intervention trial to focus on cancer prevention in African Americans. The project explored the potential of historically black medical schools to deliver health information to their local communities and used a community-based participatory research approach. The intervention consisted of culturally sensitive messages at appropriate educational levels delivered over an 18-month period and tested in predominantly black census tracts in Nashville, TN and Atlanta, GA. Chattanooga, TN and Decatur, GA served as comparison cities. Results were evaluated by pre- and postintervention random-digit dial telephone surveys. The intervention cities showed an increase in reported contact with or knowledge of the project. There was little or no effect on knowledge or attitudes in the intervention cities. Compared to Chattanooga, Nashville showed an increase in percentage of women receiving Pap smears. Compared to Decatur, Atlanta showed an increase in percentage of age-appropriate populations receiving digital rectal exams, colorectal cancer screenings and mammagrams. The results of this community intervention trial demonstrated modest success and are encouraging for future efforts of longer duration.