Southern Baptist Convention Acknowledges Ties to Slavery
Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin
Reverend Emmanuel McCall
Bob Carter
Reverend Fred Luter
This week, a major New York Times article talked about reports from the Southern Baptist Convention, (SBC) revealing that its four founders, collectively owned more than 50 slaves. The findings were part of a larger reckoning over racism in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. Last year, the convention publicly condemned white supremacy and, in the past, has issued a formal apology for its support of slavery and segregation. Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin , who served as pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Austin, Texas for forty-two years, described the historical relationship between blacks and the SBC, which suggested an ideology of inferiority and subjugation, “ The Southern Baptist was one of the largest and richest Baptist groups in the world and their roots are within this country. There's always been Southern Baptist and black Baptists working together, in this sense, but…the Southern Baptist had black slaves [who] were missionary objectives. They had prayer, preaching and all that on the plantations and they reported, in their convention, their progress with the slaves. [Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin, THMDA, 1.2.9.] .

Reverend Emmanuel McCall talked about his integration of the Baptist Student Union when he attended The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky in the late 1950’s, “ I went to Southern Seminary, I was well-accepted. There was just the beginning then of what was called the hate stare. In which Anglos would look at African Americans and just stare at you. And it was intended to intimidate...They brought their racism and their prejudices with them. [Reverend Emmanuel McCall, THMDA, 1.3.2.] .

Art professor Bob Carter , who attended the University of Louisville, recalled the white response to McCall’s appointment, “ The Baptist Student Union was white run because at that time the Baptist associations were segregated. The Southern Baptists were white, the National Baptists, the American Baptist associations were black and…they said, ‘Well, he's not from one of the churches that support us financially.’ Of course, it was racial. But the white students stood behind him and, he became the first black president of the Baptist Student Union.” [Bob Carter, THMDA, 1.3.6.] .

In 2012, The SBC elected its first African American president, Reverend Fred Luter , whose election came at a time when the SBC was looking to garner more support among their African American congregants. Since the 2016 election of President Donald Trump, as reported by another article in the New York Times , " A Quiet Exodus: Why Black Worshipers Are Leaving White Evangelical Churches, " black parishioners are finding themselves feeling alienated and leaving both SBC and white evangelical churches, because they feel that they do not belong.
On Thursday, December 13, 2018, three-time Grammy Award winning artist Nancy Wilson passed away at the age of 81. Her musical and acting career spanned more than six decades, launching her debut single, “Guess Who I Saw Today,” in 1961. Her biggest hit came in 1964 with “(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am,” which rose to #11 on the Billboard charts and won her a Grammy Award for Best R&B Recording. She went on to win two more Grammys in 2005 and 2007. Wilson also hosted NPR’s “Jazz Profiles,” a documentary series that featured jazz legends and the music’s legacy.

The Chillicothe, Ohio native has a street named in her honor and in 2004, Wilson received the Jazz Masters Fellowship for lifetime achievement by The National Endowment for the Arts. Chicago’s own Merri Dee , interviewed her dear friend for The HistoryMakers in 2007, when asked how she would like to be remembered Wilson noted, “ I think really my finest achievement is my family; my honesty, my loyalty to my friends, and knowing the meaning of that word, friendship, and maintaining friendships.” We will forever be in Merri Dee's debt and gratitude for encouraging Nancy Wilson to sit for an interview with us.
This week, The HistoryMakers interview team touched down in L.A. to conduct eight interviews for The HistoryMakers Digital Archive . Interviewer Harriette Cole and videographer Matthew Hickey sat down with: Patrisse Cullors , co-founder of the #BlackLivesMatter movement; Wren Brown , founder and producer of the Ebony Repertory Theatre; Dolores Robinson, entertainment executive and founder of Dolores Robinson Entertainment; Reginald Hudlin , screenwriter, director and producer and former president of entertainment for BET; Anita DeFrantz , vice president of the International Olympics Committee; Cheryl Boone Isaacs , former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Dr. Thomas A. Parham , president of California State University, Dominiguez Hills; and Kevan Hall , fashion designer and design and creative director of Halston.
"Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine, Oh, What A Foretaste Of Glory Divine, Heir Of Salvation, Purchase Of God, Born Of His Spirit, Washed In His Blood. This Is My Story. This Is My Song, Singing His Praises All The Day Long. "

- Junius "Red" Gaten , civic activist
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