Wednesday, April 12th, 2023
We had our Morning prayer before we left and submitted the details on the press release from Sharman Blake.
JOURNEY TO ATLANTA GA, 37TH Dr. MLK Jr. BOARD of PREACHERS & LAITY
The flight was smooth, we departed for Atlanta to be inducted in the 37th Annual MLK Board of Preachers. We arrived at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta, GA. We were staying at the same hotel as we did for the Proctor Conference.
Thursday, April 13th, 2023
We arrived at the MLK international Chapel at 830 am. The chapel has recently undergone an $11 million dollar renovation or refurbishment. We, other inductees, gathered in a large spacious reception room. Immediately I was impressed with the large photos around the walls. And the Dr. MLK Jr. showcase, the length of one of the walls containing his family, photos and quotations. Our lecture was delivered by Dr. Lawrence Edward Carter Sr. who is the Dean of the Chapel. He gave us a history on how the Chapel was started, then he took us on a tour through narrow corridors up and down flights of stairs and all along the way were huge photos. I think I remember 193 total. They call it the "Walls that Talk."
After the lecture and the tour, a continental breakfast was prepared. Then we donned our vestments and lined up to march into the chapel. It is huge. I think it accommodates the entire student body. We paused at the top of the stairs looking towards the stage, there were four landings which provided access to rows of chairs. I was honored to be the first on the line, Bishop Leah, daughter followed me. I don’t think it had to do with achievements, but with age.
After marching down the long stairs we arrived on stage and proceeded with the ceremony. Then commenced the program, called to order by the Dean Rev. Carter. Then the challenge to the inductees delivered by the Rev. Dr. Amos Brown Senior Pastor who served that church.
The charge was an 8-paragraph statement. One of the paragraphs stated, “Finally I charge you to use your time, talent, tender and technology to help usher in an age of diversity, maturity, peace and non-violence for the children of the world, to raise another generation of ethically inspired leaders committed to building a radically inclusive humanity.”
After the charge the presentation of citations was presented. The citations were in a rolling container which were collected at the end of the ceremony and given back to us as we entered the luncheon at noon. It was a rather impressive citation, which described the history and why we were given the citation. Introducing the speaker was Dr. David A. Thomas, 12th President of Morehouse college. Musical selection followed and then the speaker Rev. Dr. Thomas Bryant, president of the American Psychological Association and Professor at Pepperdine University. Indeed she merged her training psychological and theological. She described the troubles of the world and her psychological interpretation for the causes with emphasis on the individual failures to adjust thus creating the pervasive suicides, violence and disorientation of every description. Throughout the presentation, there was the evidence of the preacher.
The message was interspersed with Scripture references and Black preacher rhythm and cadence. In a word she was super, super, super. After which there was the photo ops.
At the conclusion of the ceremony we headed to the gym for lunch, one of the speakers was the Honorable Reverend Suzan Johnson Cook, DMIN.She was appointed Ambassador during the Clinton Administration.
The MLK International chapel at Morehouse college was started 49 years ago, but Morehouse College itself had a very humble beginning. It was founded in 1787 at the base of the Baptist church in Augusta, GA. Springfield Baptist, is the oldest independent African American church in the United States. Its primary purpose was to prepare black men for medicine and teaching. Augusta Institute was founded by Rev. William Jefferson White an Augusta Baptist minister. Morehouse College which is located on a 66 acre campus in Atlanta, GA. Of course it enjoys an international reputation for producing leaders who have influenced national and world history. In 1879, Frank Quarles moved to the basement of Friendship Baptist church in Atlanta and changed its name to Atlanta Baptist Seminary.
The land on which Morehouse sits was a gift from a.d. Rockefeller. Atlanta Baptist Seminary became Atlanta Baptist College during their administration of Dr. George Sale, a Canadian who served as the third and youngest President from 1890-1906.
Quote from a brochure entitled: Morehouse College, Then and Now.
“ That the place a monument marks the site for the confederate soldiers made their last stand. Atlanta, was considered the gateway to the South.
The Rockefeller's were also the builder of Riverside Church in Manhattan. There is a humor attached to one of the old church songs, “ Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty, Early in the morning the song shall rise to thee.” They changed it to, “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord Rockefeller, our songs shall rise to thee.”
I conclude that I was honored to be among all of the distinguished inductees. I shall resist the temptation to call names less if I forget someone. But I want all of my inductees, especially my daughter to know I shall treasure the moment for the rest of my life. I will treasure the moment I was with them for the rest of my life.
Friday, April 14th, 2023
After breakfast at the hotel, we headed to the airport. Our flight was not as smooth as when we were on the trip to Atlanta. When I arrived back home we did a radio interview with Imhotep Byrd and Herb Boyd. Imhotep has this idea to do a series of radio programs on the Spirit of movements. He said he was inspired by the death of Dr. MLK Jr.’s 55th anniversary of his death. I was the first participant.
Saturday, April 15th, 2023
I attended NAN’s annual convention, Rev. Al Sharpton, president. I attended three workshops.
The Social Justice workshop, this was moderated by Michael Hardy, who is also one of the attorneys for the NAN.
Achieving Political Power
Hip-Hop Panel opening statements were made by Al B Sure and Rev. Al Sharpton, moderated by Ashley Sharpton. There were 6 rappers. Rev Sharpton in his remarks pointed out that there were good and inspirational messages coming from the positive side of hip-hop. But he pointed out it was the negative side which had been captured by money interest.
I could not stay long. But, having still in the corners of my mind the interview that I did with Imhotep on the spirit of a movement. I tried to think of what spirit did hip-hop bring to the movement of its generation? and for the life of me, I could not think of the contributions hip-hop made to our freedom struggle. Obviously, there might have been a contribution here and there, but generally speaking it seemed that hip-hop culture reflected and reinforced the deniety of our community. Yes they told the truth about the stuff that they rapped about. It was happening in our community. But generally speaking hip-hop culture did not resurrect, did not revolutionize the mentally and culturally dead in our community.
It mirrored what was there. It didn't revolutionize, it didn’t inspire aspirations for high ideals of life. Although one of the greats of hip-hop culture, Tupac Shakur that I have written about and talked often, might be an exception to the rule in that he seemed to synthesize the negative and the positive. There was much good that he did that he didn’t care to have it publicized, but there were some things that were non productive. I used to talk to him about these things.
He once said while he was incarcerated that he knew he was called for a higher purpose.
Read my books on Tupac Shakur: Seed Planted in Stone, Letters to a Stone, 50th Anniversary on Hip-Hop. (View under the books tab on the homepage)