The church a force for Blacks, Obama win

It is virtually impossible to recall the history of Black people in America without making mention of the Black church, some faith leaders say.

It is virtually impossible to recall the history of Black people in America without making mention of the Black church, some faith leaders say.

It stands as one of the most prominent icons in the Black community.

Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richards II called the Black church, “the incubator of hopes and dreams of African Americans.” The pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., told the Defender that the church’s formidability has “ultimate expression in the achievement of (Barack) Obama.”

The inseparable bond between the church and Black history prompted one of Richards’ congregants, Prenessa Steele, to organize and produce the African American Church Inaugural Ball, held Jan. 18 at the Grand Hyatt Washington, in the nation’s capital.

As celebrations of all kinds and sizes were planned in honor of the Jan. 20 inauguration, she felt the Black church should host its own event to celebrate its role in Obama’s historic victory.

Steele brought multiple denominations together for a ball that was the first of its kind, for a first-ever occasion.

The church, she said, “is the foundation of what has brought us” to the day the nation could swear-in its first Black president.

Throughout its storied history, the church has served the community in a multitude of ways. During the civil rights era, it was a meetinghouse for organizing events and galvanizing the people.

From behind pulpits in major cities and tiny towns, preachers not only gave Bible-based sermons but social justice clarion calls to action.

Today, it continues to stand as a resource for an array of spiritual and social services, and community outreach.

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