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ReligionMakers have provided spiritual leadership at both local and national levels. Pastors, theologians, and chaplains are all examples of ReligionMakers.

Walter Fluker

Professor and minister Walter Fluker was born on August 26, 1951 in Vaiden, Mississippi. He served in U.S. Army as a chaplain's assistant from 1971 to 1973, received his B.A. degree in philosophy and biblical studies from Trinity College in 1977, and M.Div. degree in 1980 from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Fluker completed his Ph.D. degree in social ethics at Boston University, in 1988.

From 1981 to 1986, Fluker served as pastor of St. John’s Congregation Church, U.C.C. in Springfield, Massachusetts and became university chaplain and assistant professor of religion at Dillard University in 1986. He became assistant professor of Christian ethics at Vanderbilt Divinity School, and assistant pastor at First Baptist Church. In 1991, Fluker was named dean of black church studies and Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial professor of theology and black church studies at the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. In 1992, Fluker became editor of the Howard Thurman Papers Project. He served as director, National Resource Center for the Development of Ethical Leadership from the Black Church Tradition at CRCD in 1993. In 1998, Fluker joined Morehouse College as executive director of The Leadership Center (renamed the Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership), the Coca Cola professor of leadership studies and professor of philosophy and religion. In 2004, Fluker served as visiting professor for the University of Capetown Graduate School of Business, and as a distinguished lecturer in the International Human Rights Exchange Program. Fluker was a distinguished speaker for the U.S. Embassy in Abuja and Lagos, Nigeria; Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban, South Africa, China; and India. Having served visiting professorships at the Harvard College and Divinity School, Princeton Divinity School and Columbia Divinity School, Fluker joined the Boston University School of Theology faculty as the Martin Luther King, Jr. professor of ethical leadership and director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Initiative for the Development of Ethical Leadership in 2010. He consulted for the Democratic Leadership Council National Conversation, Goldman Sachs Global Leaders Program, the Department of Education, the Department of State, and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

In 2004, Fluker joined the editorial board of American Association of Colleges and Universities’ publication, Liberal Education. In 2006, he served on the Boston University School of Theology board of overseers. Fluker also served on the advisory board of the ‘Core Commitments: Education Students for Personal and Social Responsibility’ with the Association of American Colleges and Universities. He has served as a board member for the Atlanta Speech School, Trinity Press International, and the Howard Thurman Educational Trust. He is a member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Society for Christian Ethics and Society for the Study of Black Religion.

Fluker’s recent publications include The Papers of Howard Washington Thurman, and a 2016 publication ‘The Ground Has Shifted: The Future of the Black Church in Post-Racial America’ that received the Theology and Religious Studies PROSE Award honorable mention.

Fluker and his wife Sharon Watson Fluker, have four children and six grandchildren.

Walter Fluker was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 12, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.205

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/12/2018

Last Name

Fluker

Maker Category
Middle Name

E.

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Walter

Birth City, State, Country

Vaiden

HM ID

FLU01

Favorite Season

Autumn

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cape Town, South Africa

Favorite Quote

Stay in the light

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

8/26/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Peach Pie

Short Description

Professor and minister Walter E. Fluker (1951- ) joined the faculty of Boston University School of Theology as the Martin Luther King, Jr. professor of ethical leadership and director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Initiative for the Development of Ethical Leadership in 2010.

Favorite Color

Blue

Reverend Alonzo B. Patterson

Religious leader Reverend Alonzo B. Patterson was born on November 5, 1937 in Wilson, Louisiana to Alonzo Patterson Sr. and Susie Milligan Patterson. Patterson enlisted in the military in 1955, and was sent to Fairbanks, Alaska in 1962, where he was stationed until his retirement from the military in 1966. In 1974, Patterson earned his B.A. degree in psychology at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. He later earned his D.Div. degree from the American Bible Institute in Kansas.

After retiring from the military, Patterson founded and served as pastor of Corinthians Baptist Church in Fairbanks. In 1970, he relocated to Anchorage, becoming the pastor at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, the largest African American congregation in the city. Under his leadership, Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church became a member of the National Baptist and American Baptist Conventions, and expanded their facilities to include an educational wing, a youth and family support center, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Life Center. In 1996, Patterson became the coordinator of the American Baptist Missionary Society’s Alaskan Ministries; and in 2001, he founded Shiloh Community Development Incorporated, a non-profit organization that provided mentoring, education, and other services to disadvantaged youth in Anchorage. Patterson was also the founder of Bridge Builders, and a youth mentoring program called Young Lions of America. Under his pastorate, Patterson licensed and ordained more than fifty-five individuals, and mentored hundreds of deacons and deaconesses. Patterson retired as head pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in 2017 after forty-seven years of service, remaining as pastor emeritus.

Patterson became the chairperson of the Alaskan State Board of Parole in 1984. He also served as chairman of the Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation of Alaska, the Alaska Black Leadership Conference, and the Greatland State Baptist Convention. In addition to his role as president of the board of directors for Shiloh Community Development, Incorporated, Patterson also served as the director of Alaska Ministries for The American Baptist Churches, USA, and as the executive minister for The Alaska Baptist Churches. In 2015, the Alonzo B. Patterson Job Placement and Workforce Development Center was named in his honor. Patterson was named Alaskan of the Week by U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan in October 2017.

Patterson and his wife, Shirley, have five children.

Reverend Alonzo B. Patterson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 18, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.095

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/18/2018

Last Name

Patterson

Maker Category
Middle Name

B.

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Alonzo

HM ID

PAT11

Favorite Season

June

Favorite Vacation Destination

N/A

Favorite Quote

Jesus Saves.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alaska

Birth Date

11/5/1937

Speakers Bureau Region City

Anchorage

Favorite Food

Red Beans and Rice

Short Description

Religious leader Reverend Alonzo B. Patterson (1937 - ) served as the pastor at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Anchorage, Alaska for forty-seven years, and was the founder of Shiloh Community Development, Incorporated.

Favorite Color

Black

Reverend Cecil Williams

Religious leader Reverend Cecil Williams was born on September 22, 1929 in San Angelo, Texas. Williams earned his B.A. degree in sociology from Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas in 1952, and graduated from the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas in 1956, where he was among the first five African Americans to graduate from Perkins School of Theology.

He served as a pastor in Hobbs, New Mexico, and in Kansas City, Missouri until 1963, and accepted a position as pastor at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, California. In 1964, Williams, Phyllis Lyon, and Del Martin founded the Council on Religion and the Homosexual. In addition to providing the LGBTQ community a safe place at Glide, Williams protested the de facto segregation of San Francisco public schools, hosted events for the Black Panther Party, supported Angela Davis by hosting “Free Angela Davis” rallies, and demanded investigations of police brutality against African Americans in the Bay Area. He created Citizens Alert, a community group investigating allegations of police intimidation and brutality against people of color and the gay community. Williams grew the congregation to 10,000 members and in 2000, he retired as pastor at Glide Memorial, but remained central to church operations as the Minister of Liberation and CEO of the Glide Foundation.

At the request of Coretta Scott King, Williams became the chairman of the Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Observance Committee in 1986. In 2008, Williams was the recipient of the National Caring Award presented by the Caring Institute in Washington, D.C. In August 2013, the intersection where Glide Memorial Church was renamed “Rev. Cecil Williams Way” in his honor. Williams and wife, Janice Mirikitani, appeared as extras in the 2006 film The Pursuit of Happyness and he was also featured in the PBS documentary series This Far by Faith. Williams authored two books; I’m Alive: An Autobiography published in 1980, and collaborated with his wife to publish Beyond the Possible in 2013.

Williams has two children from his first marriage, Albert and Kim.

Revered Cecil Williams was interviewed by TheHistoryMakers on December 1, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.211

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/1/2017

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Huston-Tillotson University

Perkins School of Theology

First Name

Cecil

Birth City, State, Country

San Angelo

HM ID

WIL81

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

I'm Old Enough To Be Young And Young Enough To Be Old.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

9/22/1929

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Religious leader Reverend Cecil Williams (1929-) was a pastor at the Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, California for more than forty years. He was also the founder and CEO of the Glide Foundation.

Employment

Glide UMC

St. James UMC

Hobbs New Mexico

Houston-Tillotson

Favorite Color

Blue

Reverend Nicholas Hood III

Religious Leader Reverend Nicholas Hood III was born on October 25, 1951 in New Orleans, Louisiana to Reverend Dr. Nicholas Hood Sr. and Dr. Elizabeth F. Hood. He graduated from Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Michigan in 1969 and earned his B.A. degree in economics from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan in 1973. In 1976, Hood earned his M.Div. degree from Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut and was ordained as a minister.

Hood began working under the direction of his father as an assistant associate minister at Plymouth United Church of Christ in Detroit. Hood became senior minister of Plymouth UCC. Hood, a former member of the NAACP board of directors, was elected to serve on the Detroit City Council in 1993. He was re-elected in 1997, but stepped down in 2001 in order to run his mayoral campaign. During his tenure at Plymouth UCC, Hood led mission trips to Liberia and Ethiopia. He also worked to combat homelessness in Detroit, with a homeless shelter program at Plymouth UCC. Hood also worked to provide new computers to inner city youth, and started a scholarship program for aspiring college students. Hood also appeared on local radio programs as a political commentator. In 2015, he published his book The Test, The Strength, The Endurance, and the Way Out.

Over the last three decades, Hood served as president of the Booker T. Washington Business Association, president of the Plymouth Non-Profit Housing Corporation, and President and Chairman of the Plymouth Day School. He is a trustee of the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, on the board of directors of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and a trustee of McCormick Theological Seminary. He also served as co-chair of the Young Adult Committee of the Detroit Chapter NAACP, secretary for the Yale Divinity School Board of Alumnal Affairs, and chairman of the Amistad Slave Ship Visit to Detroit in 2002. In 2009, he received an honorary doctorate degree in ministry from Olivet College in Olivet, Michigan.

Hood and his wife, The Honorable Denise Page Hood, have two children, Nathan and Noah.

Reverend Nicholas Hood III was interviewed by TheHistoryMakers on October 19, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.195

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/19/2017

Last Name

Hood

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Nicholas

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

HOO07

Favorite Season

N/A

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Warm Places

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

10/25/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Favorite Food

N/A

Short Description

Religious leader Reverend Nicholas Hood III (1951-) was senior minister of the Plymouth Church of Christ in Detroit, Michigan, following in the footsteps of his father Reverend Dr. Nicholas Hood, Sr.

Favorite Color

N/A

Reverend Zan Wesley Holmes

Religious leader Reverend Zan Wesley Holmes was born on February 1, 1935 in San Angelo, Texas. He graduated from L.C. Anderson High School in Austin, Texas, and received his B.A. degree from Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas in 1956, and both his B.Div. degree in 1959, and his S.T.M. degree in 1968, from the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

In 1958, Holmes was pastor of the Hamilton Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. He served for ten years; and, in 1968, he became United Methodist district superintendent of the North Texas Conference. The same year, he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives for Dallas County’s Fifth District. In 1971, Judge William Taylor of the United States Court for the Northern District of Texas appointed Holmes to serve as chairperson of the Tri-Ethnic Committee, which oversaw the implementation of public school desegregation in the Dallas Independent School District. In 1979, he became senior pastor at St. Luke Community United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas and served until 2002. In 1991, he published Reaching for Revival and the following year Encountering Jesus. His other publications include; When Trouble Comes, and chapters in Our Time under God is Now and Power in the Pulpit: How America’s Most Effective Black Preachers Prepare their Sermons.

In 1991, Governor Ann Richards appointed him to be the first African American to serve on the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System, a position he held from 1991 to 1997. Holmes was active in numerous community organizations including the Society for the Study of Black Religion, the American Academy of Homiletics and Black Methodists for Church Renewal. He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and an active lifetime member of the NAACP, and founding president of the Dallas African American Pastors Coalition, and past president of The Greater Dallas Community of Churches. He served on the board of directors for the State Fair of Texas and Northpark National Bank.

In 2001, he was recognized as one of the Civil Rights Movement’s “Invisible Giants” in the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute in Selma, Alabama. In 2012, the Dallas Independent School District named the Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. Middle School in his honor. In November, 2014, Southern Methodist University honored him as a Centennial History Maker during its Distinguished Alumni Award dinner. Holmes also holds honorary degrees from Huston-Tillotson University, Dillard University, and Rust College.

Reverend Zan Wesley Holmes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 14, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.175

Sex

Male

Interview Date

09/14/2017

Last Name

Holmes

Maker Category
Middle Name

Wesley

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

L.C. Anderson High School

Perkins School of Theology

First Name

Zan

Birth City, State, Country

San Angelo

HM ID

HOL21

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Los Angeles

Favorite Quote

God does not bless us for nothing, god blesses us so we can be a blessing to others.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

2/1/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Religious leader Reverend Zan Wesley Holmes (1935 - ) was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1968 and served as senior pastor of St. Luke Community United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas for twenty-nine years.

Favorite Color

Blue

Reverend Frederick Douglass Haynes, III

Religious leader Reverend Frederick Douglass Haynes, III was born on November 10, 1960 in Dallas, Texas to Reverend Frederick D. Haynes, Jr. and Lynetta Haynes-Oliver. He graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco, California. Haynes earned his B.A. degree in religion and English from Bishop College in Dallas, Texas in 1982, his M.Div. degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and his D.Min. degree from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Mishawaka, Indiana in 2005. He also studied at Christ Church Oxford University in Oxford, England.

In 1983, Haynes accepted a position as senior pastor at Friendship-West Baptist Church. Under his leadership, the Friendship-West Baptist Church adopted churches in both Zimbabwe and South Africa. With a great amount of assistance from Friendship-West, the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Harare, Zimbabwe built a worship facility, school, and health clinic. In 2010, with the earthquake in Haiti, Haynes and Friendship-West adopted a village in Haiti and helped construct wells to provide the village with water. Haynes is also involved in the radio industry. He hosted Freddy Haynes Unscripted on Radio One’s 94.5 KSOUL, in addition to delivering the closing “Inspirational Vitamin on K104’s Skip Murphy Morning Show for seven years. He currently delivers the “Praise Break” message for the Rickey Smiley Morning Show.

Haynes helped organize the Faith Summit on Poverty, which consisted of Dallas community leaders and city officials who were dedicated to reducing domestic violence and poverty. Haynes has also used donations from Friendship-West to fund historically black colleges and universities with over $1 million, as well as scholarships to HBCU students to over $2 million. He serves as chairman of the board of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, board member of the Conference of National Black Churches and the National Action Network, and as a member of the Board of Trustees for Paul Quinn College.

Haynes authored two books, Healing Our Broken Village and Soul Fitness. He was named to Ebony magazines “Power 100 list of influential African Americans," and was inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame, both in 2012.

Haynes and his wife, Debra Peek-Haynes, have a daughter, Abeni Jewel Haynes.

Reverend Frederick Douglass Haynes, III was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 13, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.068

Sex

Male

Interview Date

03/13/2017

Last Name

Haynes

Maker Category
Middle Name

Douglass

Occupation
Schools

Ventura Elementary School

Aptos Middle School

Abraham Lincoln High School

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

First Name

Frederick

Birth City, State, Country

Dallas

HM ID

HAY15

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cape Town SA

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

11/10/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Crab

Short Description

Religious leader Reverend Frederick Douglass Haynes, III (1960 - ) served as pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church and delivered the “Praise Break” message for the Rickey Smiley Morning Show.

Employment

Friendship West Baptist Church

Sumitomo Bank

Favorite Color

Black and gold

Reverend Matthew Southall Brown, Sr.

Religious leader Reverend Mathew Southall Brown, Sr. was born on July 16, 1922 in Savannah, Georgia to Christopher Frederick Brown and Helen Robinson Brown. In 1943, Brown graduated from Cuyler-Beach High School in Savannah, Georgia and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served in World War II as a non-commissioned officer and was assigned to a support unit. Following his military service, he attended Georgia State College and earned his B.D. degree from the American Baptist Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee in 1961. Brown also studied at the University of Miami, the Division of Addiction Sciences with a grant from the City of Savannah

Brown was ordained as a minister in 1961 in the Historic First African Baptist Church. The following year, he accepted a position as a pastor at First Smyrna Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia. In 1963, Brown became a pastor at Royal Missionary Baptist Church and then St. John Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia in 1969, where he led his congregation through the renovation of the church. In 1986, Brown dedicated St. John Villa, formerly the East Broad Street School, as a housing complex for the elderly and the handicapped. In 1988, the Matthew Southall Brown Resources and Learning Center was named in his honor. Brown then hosted a morning radio show called “Thought for the Day,” which aired on Clear Channel Radio Savannah, Georgia WSOK 1230 AM. In 1991, Brown then published, The Best of Pastor Matthew Southall Brown, Sr.’s 6:30 a.m. Meditative Thoughts. Brown retired as pastor of St. John Baptist Church in 2004 and became pastor emeritus. He founded the Boys’ Summit in 2010.

In 1971, Brown was appointed by Judge Alexander Lawrence as chairman of a biracial school advisory board. Brown also served as chair on the Emancipation Association beginning in 2013. He was also recognized and honored for his service to his community. In 2013, Brown was recognized by the National Baptist Convention for more than fifty years of service.

Brown has four children: Maxine Jones, Leonard Brown, Christa Stephens, and Matthew Southall Brown, Jr.

Matthew Southall Brown was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 7, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.022

Sex

Male

Interview Date

02/07/2017

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Middle Name

Southall

Occupation
Schools

Florence Street Elementary School

Beach-Cuyler School

Alfred E. Beach High School

Savannah State University

American Baptist Theological Seminary

University of Miami

First Name

Matthew

Birth City, State, Country

Savannah

HM ID

BRO63

Favorite Season

July

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York City

Favorite Quote

Failure is not found.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

7/16/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Savannah

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spaghetti

Short Description

Religious leader Reverend Matthew Southall Brown, Sr. (1922 - ) a pastor of First Smyrna Baptist Church in Savannah in 1962, he also served as pastor of St. John’s Baptist Church in Savannah in 1969 for thirty-five years.

Employment

St. John Baptist Church

Nicholsonboro Baptist

Royal Missionary Baptist Church

Smyrna Baptist Church

Favorite Color

Brown

Father Darryl F. James

Father Darryl F. James was born on July 3, 1954 in Bridgeport, Connecticut to Laurayne Farrar James and Anthony James, Sr. His family grew up in both Richmond, Virginia and Spring Valley, New York. He earned his B.A. degree from Howard University in 1975, and his M.Div. degree from Yale University in 1979.

Upon graduation from Yale Divinity School, James was assigned to Trinity Cathedral in Newark, New Jersey, where he worked under the tutelage of Dean Dillard Robinson. He was then ordained as a deacon in 1984 at St. Matthew’s and St. Joseph’s Church, where he was also appointed Assistant for Youth and Young Adult Ministries. In 1985, James was ordained to the priesthood by the Reverend John M. Burgess in Detroit, Michigan. Later that year, James became the rector of the Messiah-St. Bartholomew Church in Chicago, Illinois, where he remained for twenty-one years. James was subsequently named to the Chicago School Board, serving from 1990 to 1995. Also in 1990, he was named the National President of the Union of Black Episcopalians. James then moved to leadership of the historic Grace Episcopal Church in Jamaica, Queens as Priest-in-Charge in 2007. Three years later, he assumed the role as church rector. A member of the Diocese of Long Island and the Queens community, James also joined the Investment Committee and the Episcopal Health Service Board of Managers, and co-founded the Downtown Jamaica Clergy. He later served as president of the Queens Federation of Churches.

James launched several initiatives at Grace Episcopal Church, including the Bishop Thompson, Jr. Summer Music and Arts Workshop, the annual Father’s Day Men of Valor Luncheon, and the Volunteers Appreciation Dinner, among others. In 2005, James, in partnership with St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, assisted Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans, Louisiana, providing aid and performing mission work in the region. He also participated in a pilgrimage to Northern India, visiting the Diocese of Mumbai and North India in Delhi. James also sponsored college tours for prospective college students throughout the United States.

Father Darryl F. James was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 13, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.125

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/13/2016

Last Name

James

Maker Category
Middle Name

Farrar

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Howard University

Albert V. Norrell Elementary School

J. E. B. Stuart Elementary School

J. A. C. Chandler Junior High School

Armstrong High School

Absalom Jones Theological Institute

Yale Divinity School

Ramapo High School

First Name

Darryl

Birth City, State, Country

Bridgeport

HM ID

JAM08

Favorite Season

Late Spring, Early Summer

State

Connecticut

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Africa, Barbados

Favorite Quote

Grace Is The Place Where All God’s People Are Welcome To Participate In Ministry.$

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

7/3/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pound Cake, Bread Pudding, Ice Cream

Short Description

Father Darryl F. James (1954 - ) was the rector of the Messiah-St. Bartholomew Church in Chicago, Illinois for twenty-one years, before becoming the rector of the historic Grace Episcopal Church in Jamaica, Queens.

Employment

Messiah St. Bartholomew Church

Grace Episcopal Church

Favorite Color

Blue, Earth Tones

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Father Darryl F. James' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Father Darryl F. James lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Father Darryl F. James describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Father Darryl F. James talks about his father's education and occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Father Darryl F. James remembers Camp Atwater in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Father Darryl F. James remembers Camp Atwater in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Father Darryl F. James describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Father Darryl F. James describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Father Darryl F. James recalls how his parents met and married

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Father Darryl F. James describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Father Darryl F. James describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his parents' involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Father Darryl F. James describes his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Father Darryl F. James talks about the history of the Episcopal church

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his early experiences in the Episcopal church

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Father Darryl F. James remembers moving to Spring Valley, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Father Darryl F. James remembers his social life in Westchester County, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his time at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Father Darryl F. James remembers his activities at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his training to join the ministry

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his experiences at the Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his mentors at the Yale Divinity School

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Father Darryl F. James remembers the women's liberation movement

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Father Darryl F. James recalls the development of his ideology at Yale Divinity School

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Father Darryl F. James remembers his lay assistantships

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Father Darryl F. James remembers Orris G. Walker, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Father Darryl F. James describes the spiritual foundation of his priesthood

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Father Darryl F. James talks about the ordination process

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Father Darryl F. James describes his ministry in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his challenges in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his challenges in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Father Darryl F. James recalls his decision to leave his congregation in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Father Darryl F. James recall joining the Grace Episcopal Church in Queens, New York, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Father Darryl F. James recall joining the Grace Episcopal Church in Queens, New York, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Father Darryl F. James talks about his duties at the Grace Episcopal Church in Queens, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Father Darryl F. James talks about the need for youth in the ministry

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Father Darryl F. James talks about his activism through the church, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Father Darryl F. James talks about his activism through the church, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Father Darryl F. James reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Father Darryl F. James reflects upon life

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Father Darryl F. James shares his advice for aspiring African American ministers

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Father Darryl F. James narrates his photographs

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Father Darryl F. James recalls his experiences at the Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut
Father Darryl F. James talks about his activism through the church, pt. 2
Transcript
So what's going on in our country at the time that you are at Yale [Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut]? You know, what's happening socially that is informing your study?$$It's kind of hard to say because I was so busy in my studies (laughter) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) So much so that you weren't paying attention to what's going on outside--$$No, not that I wasn't paying attention, but, 'cause let me see, '77 [1977] to '79 [1979], I was, I was really involved with what was called the black church at Yale. And so there was, you know, there was still that black consciousness for me. And I don't know, I mean I felt like I was in a cocoon again, you know, that, you know, because you're, you're in an environment where you're not dealing with, you know, mostly racial issues and that kind of thing, except when I was in the--it was in one class called the, called the, oh, Dr. Allen [David F. Allen]. He was a, he was a psychiatrist. It was called the social something for ministry. It was, it was like a, it was like a psychology, a psychology of ministry. It was like that. And I remember in one class--you know, you never know what people are thinking. But there was one girl in the class who said--and we were talking about race, or something (unclear) on nature. And she said, so anyway, it came up that, you know, well, "What do you think about black people?" She says, "Well, my experience has been that when they were in school, they would always cheat and steal." She said this.$$Did she know that you were black?$$There were, there were like four or five of us in the class who were black. (Laughter) And, man, before we--well, we let her have it. We, we gave her, we gave her--we talked to her from like from 'Amazing Grace' to a floating opportunity (laughter), and she--I think she'll never forget that conversation. We said, "You know what? Just look at all the, the, you know, the people who are in, in these positions of leadership who are lying and cheating and stealing in politics," (laughter). "They're not black," (laughter). So, you know, we, we had that conversation. So that was an eye opening experience, you know, at that time.$$That she said this--$$She said it.$$--in front of (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) She said it in front of us.$$--multiple black people--$$People, yes, she did.$$--who she knew were black.$$Yeah, she did. She said it.$$Unconscionable.$$Yeah.$$So what--did you sway her, I mean in your--in all of you spoke to her, but--$$We all spoke to her.$$--what happened through that conversation? Did, did you open her eyes to what she was saying?$$I don't know if we opened her eyes or not, but I think she was, she went away really thinking, you know, differently about the situation. I, I believe she did. She was like a little puppy dog with, you know, her tail between her legs when she was leaving. But, I mean, but, but this is the--I think the media has, you know, has done disservice to people of color in that--$$In what particular way did you mean?$$Well, like, you know, for example, you know, always showing, you know, like whenever there's an issue of, of someone doing something, you know, which is, you know, of a criminal act or something of that nature in the community, you know, they always seem to showcase someone of color, you know. It seems to be that way. So, just trying to show that, you know, people are people. There're good people and (laughter) there're bad people.$And then I wanna address the political for, for a moment. While churches are not supposed to be directly involved in politics, the, the congregations are dealing with whatever is coming up, and so we've had this election in 2016. How--what has been the interaction with your congregation [at Grace Episcopal Church, Queens, New York] and you as clergy during this time?$$Well, pre-election, one of the things I did was, I, I spoke to my congregation about the importance of their civic responsibility and duty of voting. And I spoke to them from a historic perspective, as people of color in this country. And I think that it really worked because I had a few people come up to me and said, "Father, I've never voted," and these are people from the Caribbean, you know, mostly. She said, "I've never voted before." She said, "But father," she said, "I'm going to register." And I--so if one person, if it made a difference for one person, I'm sure somebody thought about it. The other thing was that I invited one of the organizations here to do a voter--I was gonna do it with my group, but since other people were doing voter registration. So I had them here, and, and I just, and I just told people, I said, "Listen," I said, "you know, you have a responsibility to get to your--to get to the people in your family, you know, to make your, your vote known and, and to be counted." Now, post-election, would you like to know what I had to say about that?$$Yes.$$Post-election, some of my members were, you know, they were angry. Some were really despondent, and, you know, saddened and the kind of thing like that. My sermon that Sunday was, we have been here before. And I said to my congregation, and I raised my hand, I said, "On this day, just remember Father James [HistoryMaker Father Darryl F. James] told you, God is in charge. God is in charge. So there's a reason why everything happens. We've been here before. We've been here for Reaganomics, we've been here historically, you know." So I've just--I just mentioned all the things--I gave them the road of all the things that have happened. I said, "And we will survive because we're a people of hope." I went to Micah, I think it's Micah 6:8 [sic.], that we are people who live as though--we, we do not live as though we do not have hope. We hope for the future.

Donnie McClurkin

Gospel singer and pastor Donnie McClurkin was born on November 9, 1959 in Copiague, New York to Donald McClurkin, Sr. and Frances McClurkin. McClurkin joined the choir at Amityville Full Gospel Tabernacle. At the age of fifteen, he became a member of Benny Cummings and the King’s Temple Choir. McClurkin attended Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School.

McClurkin formed the McClurkin Singers with his older sisters and a neighbor; and in 1983, the group performed with the Tri-Boro Mass Choir, led by Albert Jamison, who introduced McClurkin to gospel singer James Cleveland, who became a mentor to McClurkin. McClurkin made annual visits to Los Angeles, California to sing with Cleveland at Cornerstone Institutional Baptist Church. From 1987 to 1989, McClurkin sang in the chorus for the Broadway production of Don't Get God Started, which debuted at the Longacre Theatre in New York City. In 1989, McClurkin moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he and Pastor Marvin L. Winans co-founded Perfecting Church. With the choir, McClurkin recorded the songs “Speak to My Heart” and “We Worship You.” After signing with Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., McClurkin released his first self-titled solo album in 1996, which gospel singer and mentor Andrae Crouch helped to produce. In the late 1990s, McClurkin wrote songs for the animated film The Prince of Egypt, and signed a publishing contract with The Walt Disney Company. He also appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and performed at the Grammy and Stellar Awards. His second album, Live in London and More, was number one on the U.S. Gospel Chart for more than forty weeks after its release in 2000.

McClurkin was ordained as a pastor by Marvin L. Winans in 2001. That same year, he established Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, New York, which started as a small bible study group. His weekly radio program, The Donnie McClurkin Show, debuted in 2006, and went on to broadcast in over seventy-five markets. From 2010 to 2015, McClurkin appeared as a judge on five seasons of BET’s Sunday Best. His discography includes Again (2003), Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs (2004), We Are All One (Live in Detroit) (2008), Duets (2014), and The Journey (Live) (2016).

McClurkin released his autobiography Eternal Victim, Eternal Victor in 2001; and was the subject of the subsequent biographical documentary From Darkness to Light: The Donnie McClurkin Story in 2004. McClurkin had a cameo role in the film The Fighting Temptations, and starred alongside actors Boris Kodjoe and Idris Elba in the movie The Gospel in 2005. His weekly television program Perfecting Your Faith began airing on The Word Network in 2009. McClurkin collaborated often with gospel singers Kirk Franklin and Yolanda Adams, including on the Hopeville tour, and received numerous awards for his music, including multiple Grammy, Stellar, Dove, and NAACP Image Awards.

Donnie McClurkin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 6, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.068

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/6/2016 |and| 10/08/2016

Last Name

McClurkin

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Walter G. O'Connell Copiague High School

Deauville Gardens Elementary School

Copiague Middle School

First Name

Donnie

Birth City, State, Country

Copiague

HM ID

MCC19

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

No Is As Good An Answer As Yes.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

11/9/1959

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Jamaican

Short Description

Gospel singer and pastor Donnie McClurkin (1959 - ) released multiple successful gospel albums, including Donnie McClurkin and Live in London and More. He also founded and served as senior pastor of the Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, New York.

Employment

Perfecting Church

Various

Perfecting Faith Church

The Gospel

"Donnie McClurkin Show"

BET

Favorite Color

Black, but according to my mood

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Donnie McClurkin's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkn describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin describes his mother's upbringing in New York City's Harlem neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin describes his mother's church community

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin talks about how his maternal grandmother coped with her rape

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin describes his maternal grandparents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin remembers his neighborhood in Amityville, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Donnie McClurkin describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Donnie McClurkin describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin talks about buying his paternal grandfather's property

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin recalls visiting his paternal relatives in Chester, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin recalls being called a racial slur in kindergarten

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin remembers celebrating Christmas with his family

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin remembers singing his first church solo

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Donnie McClurkin describes his parents' relationship

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin talks about his mother's parenting methods

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin describes his relationship with his father, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin describes his relationship with his father, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin recalls the death of his younger brother, Thomas McClurkin

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin describes his experience of childhood sexual abuse

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his family's move after his brother's death

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin remembers his religious conversion

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin describes his early relationship with God

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin recalls meeting Andrae Crouch

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin describes Andrae Crouch's career as a gospel singer

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin remembers his friendship with Andrae Crouch

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his commitment to the church

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin remembers his introduction to songwriting

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his first musical performance

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin recalls forming the McClurkin Singers

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin remembers his experiences of bullying

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin remembers singing for James Cleveland, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin remembers singing for James Cleveland, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin recalls being offered a contract with Savoy Records

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin recalls singing at the Democratic National Convention and the White House

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his experiences in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin recalls struggling with his sexuality, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin recalls struggling with his sexuality, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Donnie McCLurkin recalls changing his lifestyle after his spiritual awakening

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin recalls how his sisters helped him with his sexuality

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin shares his views on homosexuality

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Donnie McClurkin describes his attitude toward homosexuality as a pastor, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin describes his attitude toward homosexuality as a pastor, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin shares a biblical story

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin describes his religious philosophy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his leukemia diagnosis

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his first performance at the Grammy Awards

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin recalls signing a recording contract with Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin describes the success of his debut album

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin remembers singing 'The Prayer' with Yolanda Adams

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin recalls writing songs for The Walt Disney Company

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin recalls signing a recording contract with Verity Records

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin reflects upon the success of his album, 'Live in London and More'

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin talks about contemporary gospel artists

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin reflects upon his awards and accolades

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin talks about his son, Matthew McClurkin

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin talks about his adopted daughter

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin recalls founding the Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin talks about his book, 'Eternal Victim, Eternal Victor'

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin talks about the importance of mental healthcare in the black community

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Slating of Donnie McClurkin's interview, session 2

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin describes his early musical influences

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin describes his family's musical taste

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin recalls the television programs of his youth

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin describes his favorite musical groups of the 1970s

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin describes his musical inspiration

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin remembers the inspiration for his song, 'Stand'

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin describes his relationship with God, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin describes his relationship with God, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Donnie McClurkin talks about struggling with desire

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Donnie McClurkin shares his views on social labels

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his role in 'Don't Get God Started'

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his audition for 'Don't Get God Started'

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin talks about the Broadway production of 'Don't Get God Started'

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin remembers befriending Marvin Winans

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin describes the cast of 'Don't Get God Started'

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his move to Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin describes the community of Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin describes the history of gospel music in California

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin describes the musical success of the Winans family

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin talks about the famous gospel singers from Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin describes the Perfecting Church in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin describes the services at the Perfecting Church

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin describes the community programs of the Perfecting Church

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin describes the Marvin L. Winans Academy of Performing Arts in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin recalls founding the Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, New York

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin remembers the support of Charles E. Blake, Sr.

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin remembers his challenges at the Perfecting Faith Church

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin describes the growth of the Perfecting Faith Church

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin talks about his social media presence

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin recalls the responses to his book, 'Eternal Victim, Eternal Victor'

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin talks about his personal relationships

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin describes his friendship with Yolanda Adams

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin talks about 'The Donnie McClurkin Story: From Darkness to Light'

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his appearance in 'The Fighting Temptations'

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin recalls performing in the Hopeville gospel tour

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin describes his work as an actor

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin talks about 'The Donnie McClurkin Show'

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin talks about the Donnie TV multimedia website

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his role as a judge on BET's 'Sunday Best'

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin talks about his support for emerging musical artists

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin talks about his role as a father

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin describes his relationship with his son

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin recalls introducing his son to his fiancee

Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin talks about the contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan

Tape: 12 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin reflects upon the importance of community activism

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin talks about the future of gospel music

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin describes the problems with recording contracts

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin talks about his skill as an actor

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin shares a message to young African American men, pt. 1

Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin describes the racial history of the United States

Tape: 13 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin reflects upon the recent police shootings

Tape: 13 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin shares a message to young African American men, pt. 2

Tape: 13 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin talks about the importance of interfaith cooperation

Tape: 13 Story: 10 - Donnie McClurkin talks about President Donald John Trump

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Donnie McClurkin recalls meeting Andrae Crouch
Donnie McClurkin recalls his audition for 'Don't Get God Started'
Transcript
You're a little boy. You taught yourself how to play piano?$$No, Frances [Frances McClurkin]--$$No?$$--Frances taught--$$Ah.$$--Donnie [HistoryMaker Donnie McClurkin] how to play the piano.$$Okay. Your, your mother?$$My mother.$$Right okay so that's not right.$$Yeah, my mom taught me basics on the piano. And I always had one finger on one hand, two fingers on the other, three fingers on this one, yeah, we progressed from one finger on this to three fingers on this one. And then a man by the name of Andrae Crouch came into our lives by way of music. And I was nine years old when I heard the first record from Andrae Crouch and it's, it was Andrae Crouch and The Disciples. And man, I, oh, I was in love with it, all of the songs, (singing) "Jesus is the answer for the world today. Above him there is no other, Jesus is the way" ['Jesus is the Answer']. I was in love with this guy. And I would, I took the speakers those, those big, you know, three, and three foot speakers and turned them to face each other and laid my head in between them on the floor, and just be at the concert, be in the, be in the recording. And he came to our church, Bethel Gospel Tabernacle in Jamaica, Queens [New York], and my mother had moved to that church. And I begged her, "Can we go to the concert?" And she said, "Yes." It was on a, like a week, like a, like a Tuesday night in October. And we went and, and, and his sister, Sandra [Sandra Crouch] had on makeup and pants (gasping) oh, my god. The strict Pentecostal, the denomination I was raised in, makeup and pants on a woman, that was, that was anathema, that was a curse. I couldn't stop staring at her. And then they sang and I'm, I knew every song. And he went into the back study with the pastor and everybody left the sanctuary, we turned the lights off, there was one light over the pulpit and I sat and my mother said, "Donnie, you gotta come on 'cause you got school tomorrow." I said, "Mommy, please let me stay," he went in that room. And she heard something again and she said, "Okay, but you gotta promise to get up for school," like I had a choice.$$(Laughter).$$And I sat there and finally he came out of the office and saw me sitting there and said, "Hey, little guy, what are you doing sitting here?" I said, "I was waiting for you." He said, "Well, what's your name?" I said, "Donnie." He said, "My name is Andrae." I said, "I know." And he said, "Well, are you born again?" Now, this man in his twenties is talking to an eleven year old, "Are you born again?" I said, "Yes, sir." He said, "I, I was born again at nine." I said, "I know, me too." I was, I was so enamored. He said, "Well, do you sing?" I said, "No." "Do you play the piano?" I said, "No." He said, "I didn't play either, my father [Benjamin Crouch, Sr.] laid hands on me when I was eleven years old and that's how I got the gift to play." I said, "I'm eleven but my father [Donald McClurkin, Sr.] can't pray for me 'cause he's not born again." And Andrae said, "Do you mind if I pray for you?" And he laid his hands on my head and said, "God give him what you gave to me," patted my face and walked away, and that's how I got all this. Amazing. That's how, and he became a mentor of mine and then he became a friend of mine and then I was able, I was able to minister with him and to him until he passed away a year and a half ago.$And we're walking out and while we're walking out and I'm dejected, I'm just heartbroken. A guy named Stanley Brown comes in, he says, "Oh, my god, we were just talking about you. We were just talking about you." I said, "Who?" He said, "Me and Marvin Winans." I just dropped him off at the Milford Plaza [Milford Plaza Hotel; Row NYC Hotel] in Manhattan [New York, New York], we were just talking about you." And well, Stanley wasn't really the most credible guy at the time, sorry, Stanley. And, and I was saying, "Yeah, okay, tell him I said hi." I'm trying to get out 'cause I'm so embarrassed. People had stopped and we're talking, he runs to the pay phone, this is in 1987, he runs to the pay phone, he comes back, taps me on the shoulder and says, "Marvin Winans is on the phone." I go to the pay phone, pay phone, and surely it's Marvin Winans. And, "Oh, oh, man, oh, man I forgot all about you. Listen what are you doing tomorrow?" I said, "What?" "What are you doing tomorrow?" You know, we did small talk. I said, "I gotta go to work." He said, "You and your sister," my sister, how did he know my sister was with me? "You and your sister go down to Lafayette Street in Greenwich Village [New York, New York] tomorrow." "For what?"$$(Laughter).$$"Look, just go down there, just take off from work." Now, we're not that close but he, I'm so timid he intimidated me.$$And what was your job at this point?$$I was working at import export at Kennedy Airport [John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, New York].$$(Laughter).$$And Andrea [Andrea McClurkin-Mellini] was working at some agency, I forget the name of the agency. And I said we, I came back and said, "Well, that was Marvin Winans, we gotta take off work tomorrow." "I'm not taking off work."$$(Laughter).$$"We have to take off work, he said we have to take off work." I don't know how (laughter) he had the power over us he did, you know. Darn you, Marvin Winans. And we took off the next day and we went down to Greenwich Village, went to Lafayette Street. We go to the address and we walk in there's three hundred people in there, and they're all, and we walk in and we saw someone that we knew, Monique Walker. She said, "What y'all doing here?" I said, "Well, Marvin Winans told us to come down here." She said, "Oh, you're in the right place." And I said, "Well, what is this?" "It's for a Broadway show." I said, "Oh, absolutely not. No, let's go Andrea 'cause we can't do Broadway. The Bible says we can't do Broadway," because the Bible said, "broad is the way that leads to destruction, that's a scripture, broad is the way that leads to destruction, to destruction and many there are that follow it." [Matthew 7:13] So, me being that ultra-religious guy, "We can't do Broadway because the Bible says, 'broad is the way that leads to destruction and many there are that follow it.' Let's go, let's go." And we're walking to the door, get to the door, this little short lady with no neck named Samantha [ph.] who is a, who is a chronic smoker, small, small Jewish lady named Samantha. She comes and says, "Is there a soprano here?" So, everybody raises their hand, 'cause everybody wanted a part in (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Sure.$$--the play ['Don't Get God Started'] 'cause this is Broadway, this ain't off-Broadway, this ain't off, off, Broadway, this is Broadway. And we're walking out and the lady points through three hundred people and says to Andrea, "You, at the door, are you a soprano?" And Monique says, "Yeah, she's a soprano." "Could you come with me?" I'm saying, "Andrea, when you're finished let's go, we gotta go." And they come back, they get me and ask me to come into the room 'cause I'm, they need me to play a song for her. I played the song and then the, the, the music director said, "Okay, now, you sing for us too." I sang, he said, "Well, you can wait outside." I said, "No, no, we're not waiting outside, Andrea, come on, we have to go." And the music director got mad, his name was Steven Ford, he said, "You can step outside, I'm not finished with her." I said, "She's finished, let's go." "What is your name?" I said, "My name is Donnie." He said, "Donnie what?" I said, "[HistoryMaker] Donnie McClurkin." "Oh, my god, you got the job. You've got the job. Marvin Winans told me you were coming, I'm so sorry, you got the job. You and your sister report back here next week." "For what?"$$(Laughter).$$So, the next week we had to go back down and there were thirty. And then the next week we had to go back again, and there were twelve, that was the twelve that made the cut. And this guy, Barry Hankerson, who was a major, major manager back then in the day, Gladys Knight, what's the girl that died in the plane accident? Aish-$$Aaliyah.$$Aaliyah, yeah, Aaliyah. He was everybody's manager. And that's how we got the part to the Broadway play--

Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr.

Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. was born on September 6, 1935 in Burgaw, North Carolina to James A. Forbes, Sr. and Mabel Clemons Forbes. Forbes was raised as one of eight children in Raleigh, North Carolina. He received his B.S. degree in chemistry from Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1957. At Union Theological Seminary in the New York City, Forbes wrote his master’s thesis on Pentecostalism and the Renewal of the Church, and obtained his M.Div. degree in 1962. Forbes earned his clinical pastoral education certificate from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond in 1968. Forbes earned his D.Min. degree from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in 1975.

Following his graduate studies at Union Theological Seminary, Forbes returned to Raleigh, North Carolina, where he worked briefly in his father’s church, Providence United Holy Church. In 1962, Forbes became a student intern at Olin Binkly Memorial Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and went on to pastor Holy Trinity Church in Wilmington, North Carolina; St. Paul’s Holy Church in Roxboro, North Carolina; and St. John’s United Holy Church of America in Richmond, Virginia. After earning his Clinical Pastoral Education Certificate from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Forbes worked as campus minister for Virginia Union University in Richmond. In 1973, Forbes became a director of education for Interfaith Metropolitan Theological Education Inc. in Washington, D.C. In 1976, Forbes joined the faculty at Union Theological Seminary as its Brown and Sockman Associate Professor of Preaching. Forbes became the Union Theological Seminary’s first Joe R. Engle Professor of Preaching in 1985. In 1986, Forbes gave the Lyman Beecher Lectures at Yale University, informing his 1989 publication, The Holy Spirit & Preaching. Union Theological Seminary named Forbes the first Harry Emerson Fosdick Adjunct Professor of Preaching in 1989, the same year he was installed as fifth senior minister of Riverside Church in New York City. His installment rendered him the first African American senior minister of one of the largest multicultural and interdenominational congregations in the United States. Following his address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts, Forbes led an interfaith rally and demonstration at Riverside Church as part of the Church’s Mobilization 2004 campaign. In 2007, he formed the Healing of the Nations Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit, national ministry of healing and spiritual revitalization. That same year, Forbes retired as senior minister emeritus of Riverside Church. He authored Whose Gospel?: A Concise Guide to Progressive Protestantism in 2009.

Forbes was the recipient of fourteen honorary degrees, including D.D. degrees from Princeton University, Trinity College, Colgate University, and University of Richmond. In 1996, Newsweek recognized Forbes as one of the twelve “most effective preachers” in the English-speaking world.

Forbes and his wife, Bettye Forbes, have one son, James A. Forbes III.

Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 21, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.046

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/21/2016

Last Name

Forbes

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Occupation
Schools

Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School

Union Theological Seminary

Washington High School

Virginia Commonwealth University

School of Medicine

Howard University

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Burgaw

HM ID

FOR15

Favorite Season

Autumn

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

All Things Work Together For Good.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/6/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes (1935 - ) served as the fifth senior minister of Riverside Church in New York City from 1989 to 2007, making him the first African American Senior Minister of one of the largest multicultural and interdenominational churches in the United States.

Employment

Kittrell College

Olin T. Binkly Memorial Baptist Church

St. John’s United Holy Church

Virginia Union University

Union Theological Seminary

Riverside Church

Drum Major Institute

Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. describes Stokes, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. remembers harvesting tobacco, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. remembers harvesting tobacco, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. describes his maternal grandfather's house

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. talks about his paternal grandfather's disappearance

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. describes his father's education and occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. talks about his paternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. recalls how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. describes his siblings, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. describes his siblings, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. recalls his parents' emphasis on education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. describes his siblings, pt. 3

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. recalls his decision to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. remembers segregation in North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. recalls eating at an integrated lunch counter

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. remembers his response to racism

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. recalls his arrival at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. describes his activities at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. recalls his call to ministry

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. remembers attending Union Theological Seminary in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. describes his approach to Pentecostalism

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. recalls his early interdenominational work

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. describes his father's approach to religion

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. recalls pastoring at Olin T. Binkley Memorial Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. remembers the social climate of Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. describes his civic involvement in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. talks about making a living as a minister

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. talks about black theology

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. recalls working at Interfaith Metropolitan Education, Inc. in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. recalls teaching at Union Theological Seminary in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. talks about the founding of the Ebony Ecumenical Ensemble

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. recalls writing 'The Holy Spirit and Preaching'

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. describes the history of Riverside Church in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. recalls becoming a senior minister at the Riverside Church in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. remembers Nelson Mandela's visit at Riverside Church

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. describes the Riverside Church's history of inclusion

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. recalls his experiences at Riverside Church, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. recalls his experiences at Riverside Church, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. talks about founding Space for Grace

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. recalls joining the Drum Major Institute

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. describes his book, 'Whose Gospel?: A Concise Guide to Progressive Protestantism'

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. talks about his spirituality

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. shares his advice for aspiring ministers

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. talks about his family and shares advice for mankind

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. narrates his photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$5

DAStory

8$4

DATitle
Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. describes his father's education and occupations
Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. recalls his experiences at Riverside Church, pt. 1
Transcript
At a certain age he [Forbes' father, James A. Forbes, Sr.] decided he was gonna be a preacher. So he accepted the call to ministry, and became a preacher, quite a popular preacher in North Carolina. Big problem was that he was a preacher, but if you recall the term bootleg preacher, he didn't have any education. You know, dropped out at sixth grade.$$So that's what bootleg preacher means?$$The jackleg, jackleg--$$Yeah.$$--jackleg, bootleg preacher--$$Right.$$--basically it tended to suggest that they had not been thoroughly trained for the vocation. So one of the churches said, "We really like your preaching, but if you're gonna be our preacher, you're gonna have to get some education." So, having dropped out at the sixth grade, he enrolled in high school with a correspondence course called the American School [American School of Correspondence, Lansing, Illinois], in Chicago [sic.]. And actually, I remember as a little boy, taking his lessons that he prepared at the dining room table and posting them in the mail box and also picking up his, the letters when he got his grades back. He completed high school with only having gone to sixth grade through correspondence. But he was sufficiently bright that in finishing high school by correspondents he enrolled in college at Shaw University [Raleigh, North Carolina]. At Shaw University he became, he graduated the head of his class and also decided to go further to get his, what they called then B.D. degree, bachelor of divinity, which is now called M.Div. degree, master of divinity, but he, you know, graduated at the head of the class (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Do you know what time this was?$$My father might have gotten his degree from Shaw University around about 1949.$$Okay. And what work was he doing as he was preparing for the ministry?$$As he was preparing for the ministry in North Carolina, in Goldsboro, North Carolina, he had a job working at the W.T. Grants department store [sic. W.T. Grant]. He was a porter and had the responsibility, and candy salesman. This is a, this is a very important thing. My father always viewed himself as being not just a worker for somebody, so although he's a porter, and a candy salesman in a W.T. Grants department store, when the head of the store, whose name at the time was Mr. Parsons [ph.], when he announced to the staff that he had just had a little baby girl, my father made a table with four chairs, for the little baby. Now how do I know this? Because later on, years later, I'm preaching at Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church in Houston, Texas, and they put the name of the preacher over the street, kind of build it up, it's gonna be a big occasion, and a person named Mrs. Parsons came with her children and she said she heard James Forbes, she just wanted to know if I'm the James Forbes because she was the daughter for whom the table and the chairs had been made by a James Forbes and that wherever her family went they could leave anything behind, but they could never leave behind the table that James Forbes had made for her. Here's a black man to show his sense of care for his employer, a white man. He's not a worker, he's a servant of God to show love to whomever he could, but that was a fascinating thing to, to live long enough to have that circle completed.$And how did the congregation [at Riverside Church, New York, New York] accept this?$$Well, I would say the greatest issue of acceptance it seems to me was to accept the authenticity of my being who I was even if it wasn't what they had been used to. I mean, so, it was a glorious occasion for me to be inaugurated in that place, but a couple of months later, people woke up, "Oh my god, he really is black, and he is different."$$And so did you have challenges as a result of that?$$Are you kidding me? I mean it became so clear to me that in a moment of strength or weakness, people were glad that they had lived into the liberalism that they were known for, but how do you adjust to the rearrangement of the social and cultural patterns that make what's been excluded now the center, or to say it another way, they loved me every year I came. I was wonderful dessert, but what happens when dessert becomes the main course. That's a problem. I mean I was a real challenge for these people and some of them let me know that in no uncertain terms. I mean I remember one night, which was the most painful night in ministry in my life, where less than a year, there was a group got together and decided that they had had enough of Jim Forbes [HistoryMaker Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr.]. They called this meeting together and everybody knew that this was going to be a kangaroo court and that that was going to be the end of a nice little experiment in democratic leadership. At that meeting that night, it was intense that I'm sitting there and I actually really, if you can believe it, if I had had a button that I could push where I could take myself out of that situation, I would have done so. But let me tell you what happened. Earlier that day I had gone to Calvary ba- Calvary Hospital [Bronx, New York] where, visiting an old lady and when I got there I asked her daughter to ask your mother what would she like me to read. Her mother said, "Psalm 27." So I read Psalm 27. "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell," all (unclear). Well when I got out of her room, the spirit said, "You got a big meeting tonight, and I needed to remind you that that's the text I gave you the night you accepted the call to ministry at Howard [Howard University, Washington, D.C.]. And the reason I told you that night to learn it by heart, you said 'I don't know it,' but I made you quote it," and I thought that because I was given the ability to learn it so quickly that it meant that I was gonna be blessed with phenomenal memory, and so the Lord said, "That wasn't it at all. There are situations where you're gonna need these words where you can't afford to stoop down or look down or turn around, but it's in there now, so you be aware." That night when things got so hot, the words came to my mind, it is for this reason that you learned that Psalm, now recite it. So, I'm sitting there, "(unclear) on the speaker, the previous vote," da da da da, oh, they was, it was just awful. I sat there and people who were my friends who were there says all of a sudden my countenance changed, instead of fear, they noticed that a sort of gentle assurance came across my face because what I was doing is inside myself I was quoting, "The Lord is my light and my salvation, who shall I fear. The lord is the strength of my life, (mumbling), wait on the Lord and be of good courage, he shall strengthen." That in the quoting of that God given passage in 1956, here it is 1990, yeah maybe 1990, that gave me strength. They said when my countenance changed, the tenor of the meeting changed. All of a sudden it got sane in there. In fact, at the end of the meeting, that next week I received a letter from a woman whose name was Elaine, her name Elise Higgenbottom [sic.]. She said, "I came to this meeting because I heard they were getting ready to try to oust you." She said, "But I listened to what you said about how your ministry was gonna go and I liked very much what you said. I want to support your ministry. Please find enclosed a check for fifty thousand dollars just to help you get this program moving that you talked about." Her name was not, her name was Elise Goldman. I went to her funeral a few years ago when I was preaching at Duke University [Durham, North Carolina] I heard she had died. I just went by to say, "You all don't know the encouragement from your mother helped saved a preacher's life." Again, don't count people out. She's a white woman. But again--$$And you served as senior pastor for how many years?$$Eighteen years. They thought I, they thought I was gonna be gone in one, in one year and a half, for eighteen years.