Religion – African American News – Black News – Colored News – Negro News African American News & Issues - Black News Fri, 23 Jun 2017 21:15:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Galilee Missionary Baptist Church Awards 50,000 in Scholarships Mon, 05 Jun 2017 20:25:44 +0000 By: Chelsea Davis-Bibb, M.Ed.

Houston – Malcom X stated that, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Galilee Missionary Baptist Church in the Acreage Homes community in Houston, Texas awarded $50,500 in scholarships during their Graduates’ Day ceremony. Each year, the fourth Sunday in May is set aside to recognize all high school and college graduates during morning worship service. This year was no exception as they recognized 12 college graduates and 16 high school graduates. Out of the high school graduates, 14 were recipients of scholarships.


Even though outside donations are welcomed, the church family gives the majority of the money for scholarships. According to First Lady Dr. Charlotte J. Davis, this year “90% of the money came from our own church, and about 10% came from other fundraisers.” These fundraisers are held throughout the year in order to help raise additional funds for the scholarship ministry. Members are encouraged to donate throughout the year, and many strive to give $1,000. This year, Galilee made 25 award presentations to those who donated $1,000 or more to the scholarship ministry. These donors are able to receive a plaque in honor or in memory of someone, and are allowed to present a graduate with his or her scholarship award.


Galilee has awarded scholarships to students who attend different high schools in school districts all across the Greater Houston area. In order to qualify for a scholarship, students must be a member of the church, and complete an application. The application is an inquiry of the student’s GPA, school and church activities, awards and honors, and community service hours. The scholarships are scored with 300 being the most points a student can earn. The student with the highest score is awarded the highest scholarship. All students who complete an application are awarded a scholarship.


Pastor, Dr. Edwin A. Davis, and his wife Dr. Charlotte J. Davis are very proud of what the church has done for their youth, and truly believes that education is very important. They are very proud of the success that the scholarship ministry has had, and are excited to do bigger and better things each year. First Lady Charlotte stated, “This is the most important investment that we can make. Education is the key to unlock the door to these young people’s future. We encourage them to take full advantage of this opportunity, and we pray that God blesses and keeps them as they begin the next chapter in their life. We commend our church members who have bought into the concept of helping these young people pursue higher education.” Pastor Davis also mentioned that, “The dynamics of receiving a good education is imperative for our future generations.”

High School graduates recognized were: Daesha Beaureau, Klein Forest High School, Breelon Bullock, Spring High School, Jacoby Dickey, Westfield High School, Christiana Floyd, King Park High School, Essance Harrison, Klein Collins High School, Imani Jackson, Benjamin O. Davis High School, Jessilyn Jones, Klein Forest High School, Eddie Patterson, Cypress Creek High School, Kristiaan Plummer, Andy Dekaney High School, Sade Sims, Benjamin O. Davis High School, Keisha Smith, Mirabeau B. Lamar High School, Kennedy Stern, S.P. Waltrip High School, Maya Washington, Cypress Ranch High School, Curtis Williams, Benjamin O. Davis High School, Alexis Woodfork, G.W. Carver High School, and Christian Walker, Benjamin O. Davis High School.


College graduates recognized were: Racheal Cummings, Lone Star College, Nisha Davis, Relay Graduate School of Education, Caitlyn Floyd, Texas Women’s University, Rev. Vincent Johnson, St. Thomas University-Seminary, Natalie McKnight, FCC College, DeLisa Lane, Grand Canyon Christian University, Angelica Moffett, Texas Southern University, Tonyelle Netter, Texas Center for Massage Therapy, Nicole Patterson, Baylor University, Courtney Perkins, Houston Community College, Damian “D.D.” Price, Liberty University, and Katherine White, Lone Star College.

]]> 0
Funky Larry Jones and Dr. Robert Cornell Tackle Prostate Cancer at Fallbrook Church Monthly Men’s Breakfast Tue, 30 May 2017 16:20:51 +0000

You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live- Stuart Scott

Some believe that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Sometimes what you treasure may just be – glorified trash. I do understand that nothing suggest Black people have gathered to fellowship like the smell of barbeque and fried fish. Many sometimes just show up to an event to “get they plate”. However, that sacred treasure is literally killing us! That is, constantly eating unhealthy food- that is traditionally prized as indispensable to family reunions and church functions – is a cancer to the African-American community.  Studies show that the intake of red meat and fried foods do contribute to higher chances of getting cancer. One would be naïve to think that most African-Americans do not sense- at least somewhat- a consequence for eating something that has the potential to completely saturate a whole roll of paper towels with grease and oil.

The Combat Ready Cancer Ministry and Men’s Ministry at Fallbrook Church teamed up to bring about awareness and opportunity to men in the community. There was an ample amount of information provided about cancer to the audience during the breakfast, and men could receive a free prostate cancer screening.

The most commonly diagnosed cancers among black men are prostate (31% of all cancers), lung (15%), and colon and rectum (9%). African Americans have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial and ethnic group in the US for most cancers (

Radio Legend and current Host of the Top-Rated Afternoon Drive Program on KMJQ/MAJIC 102.1 FM Funky Larry Jones came to Fallbrook Church to disarm men of their pride. He suggested many men like to act and live as if everything is solvable with an “Advil pill”, and exclaimed, “pride comes before the fall.” For a time, Jones struggled with managing his personal health responsibly as he refused to get screened for cancer. Eventually, he would get screened and come to know and respect Houston Urologist, Robert J. Cornell, MD, PA. Jones stated passionately to the men in the room, “I ensure you that without Dr. Cornell’s guidance, and his input, and knowledge in this soul- this body would not be standing before you today.” He would end his heart -felt spiel to the men exclaiming that, “it was only God who led me to this man who made sense to me in just a few brief moments.”

Dr. Cornell had come with enough ammunition to provide insight, education, and support the “John the Baptist” introduction he received from Funky Larry Jones. He intentionally stated, “to all the African American men in the room- after mentioning he decided to miss both of his daughter’s softball games just to speak at the breakfast- that, you are the men who need the message the most.” That message, according to Dr. Cornell, is that Prostate cancer is killing black men more than any other race. According to the research on Prostate cancer in the African-American community:


Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer amongst men in the US. While this terrible disease is not exclusive to any one race; it is, however, more prevalent in black men and so is the death rate from it.  One in four men black men will get prostate cancer within their lifetime, that is quite a high number. It is even more alarming when you compare those numbers to other demographics. Only 1 in 7 men of all other races will get prostate cancer. When you think about the fact that black men have twice the risk of being diagnosed than white males, and three times that of Asians, it makes one wonder why these stats are so high.


Once diagnosed with prostate cancer, many black males may ask what they could’ve done differently or what factors led to them being diagnosed. Black men do have nearly 150% greater risk of dying from prostate cancer than any other. That can be a sobering realization when 44% of prostate cancer deaths are from black men which make up only 13% of the population. The bad news is this is mostly due to genetic differences in black men but there is good news. While black men cannot affect the risk of getting prostate cancer they can affect whether they die from it or not.


The main reason men die from prostate cancer is due to lack of action and early detection. Before PSA screenings developed in the 90’s, black men diagnosed with prostate cancer died at a rate of nearly 40 percent! However, with PSA protocols in place, since the late 90’s the death rate is now down to just 10 percent! You can’t choose your race or your parents, but you can choose to be on top of your health and get screened for prostate cancer once a year once you reach 40. Early detection is the only way you can mitigate the impact this disease has on you. Information is power and with this information, you can indeed survive prostate cancer.


The easiest way to let others in your circle know is to simply have a candid talk about prostate cancer. There is no room for being “manly” and thinking it will just go away. There is no sense in ignoring screenings, and PSA tests when these tests can be the difference between surviving prostate cancer and dying from it. Early detection is the key to saving your life and being proactive about your health is a best practice that will always benefit you.


My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). The humorous aspect of that bible verse is that the Israelites were not completely ignorant of God’s law, foolishness just seemed to be more accommodating to their life style. The same applies to men who willfully accept not knowing their health status. In addition, the same also applies to men who constantly eat food that research dictates are cancerous. Many African-American families are left without fathers, uncles, and brothers because of both, lack of information and refusal to change their mind about what is means to be healthy. It seems if a man truly cares about his family, and his own life, he must get tested when he is of age!



Dr. Cornell is a board-certified urologist practicing in downtown Houston, Texas. He completed his residency training at Baylor College of Medicine in the Scott Department of Urology and his general surgical training in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of General Surgery.

Eminently qualified, Dr. Cornell earned his medical doctorate from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City and graduated with high honors from Allegheny College in his hometown of Meadville, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Cornell has completed multi-disciplinary microsurgical training, is a specialist in prosthetic urology and female incontinence and pelvic reconstructive surgery, and in office thermotherapy treatment of benign prostate enlargement.

If you feel you might have a problem with your prostate that needs the attention of a professional then you need to call Dr. Cornell to schedule a screening.  With proper detection from Dr. Cornell, you greatly increase your chances of survival and living a healthy long life. All it takes is to contact our offices and schedule an appointment to get started.

Photos and Story by: Lorenzo Tolbert


]]> 0
Religion Profile: Pastor Velma Willoughby Kemp Mon, 24 Apr 2017 19:14:00 +0000 SAN ANTONIO – Mrs. Velma Louise Willoughby Kemp, the daughter of Rev. Jordan (deceased) and Mrs. Zenobia Willoughby, was born and raised in Arkansas as a daughter of the church.  She developed a deep and abiding love for Christ as she regularly listened to her father proclaim the gospel as pastor of the Chapel Hill Baptist Church and the Mount Zion Baptist Church in Arkansas.  This provided the controlling foundation for the rest of her life.

After completing high school in England, Arkansas, Sister Kemp earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing in July 1985 from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.   One month later, she married her high school sweetheart who was then a medical student at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

In 1988, she joined the Antioch Baptist Church with her husband Pastor Kenneth Kemp and eldest daughter. Over the years, she has remained an integral component of the Antioch Church family. She is active in Antioch’s Church School, the Wednesday Word and Worship Service, the Minister’s & Deacon’s Wives Ministry, the Rites of Passage Program, the Marriage Ministry, and the Mission Choir.

Along with her busy schedule of service in her church, Sister Kemp is involved in numerous civic and educational initiatives. She is a member of the San Antonio chapter of the Links Incorporated, the NAACP, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and serves on the San Antonio African American Area Fund, Claude and ZerNona Black Foundation Advisory Board and serves as board chair for the Antioch Sports Advisory Board. She also volunteers and supports programs that attend to those who have been affected by socioeconomic disadvantaged backgrounds.  In 2012 God gave Sis Kemp the vision as the Founder and Chair of “Being a Christian Woman” Conference which is the first Citywide Women’s Conference held by Antioch. The 3rd biennial “Being a Christian Woman” Conference will be in April this year. This conference has provided inspiration to many.  Sis Kemp also led the “Bibles in the Pews” initiative of the Antioch Ministers’ and Deacons’ Wives ministry that provided Bibles for our sanctuary and she has been integral in enhancing the library of the Antioch Christian Academy through partnership with the San Antonio chapter of the Links Incorporated. In 2016 Sis Kemp encouraged the MDWW to sponsor the Nursery located in the newly named Joe Ann Brown Annex.

While Sister Kemp has numerous accomplishments, the one of which she is most proud is that of being mother to her two daughters, Jessica and Joelle, both of whom are doing advance study.  Jessica is working on a Master of Divinity at Truett Theology on Baylor campus in Waco and Joelle is working on a doctorate in pharmacy at the University of Incarnate Word- Feik School of Pharmacy. She can regularly be found cheering her daughters on and making sure that they have all they need to be successful.

She enjoys gardening, shopping and caring for her family. Sister Kemp loves sharing her relationship with Christ through various speaking opportunities.  Recently, Sis Kemp has been sharing moments with God via social media in what she refers to as her (#mugministry).  She states that the most important thing about her life is her love for Jesus Christ which is manifested by her love for people.

Antioch Missionary Baptist Church believes that the Bible is the Holy Word of God written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit. A body of believers in Jesus Christ, we believe that God is the one true God who created the entire universe and that Jesus the Christ, the Son of God guides us as we seek to embark on meaningful ministries which will impact our church and community. We seek to carry out in Love the principles of God’s Word and the work of His Church.

Antioch Baptist Church is located at 1001 N. Walters Street San Antonio, TX 78202. For more information visit

Pastor David Allen-Christ Temple Apostolic Church Mon, 17 Apr 2017 16:38:30 +0000  

HOUSTON – Many parents live a lifetime working to build a fortune to leave a financial inheritance to their children. While the road is narrow, amongst those that labor and toil to leave a spiritual inheritance for their children to acquire or mirror. Personally, I believe that there is no greater inheritance that a parent can leave a child than to equip them with the essential tools to ensure that they will have eternal soul security. Apparently, this thought is one that I shared with the late, Bishop David Allen, Sr. For it was just six weeks prior to his passing, that he commissioned his son, Pastor David Allen, Jr. to lead  Christ Temple Apostolic Church (CTAC), in his stead. Continue reading to learn more about this three-generation spiritual relay, conceived in the heart of Houston’s Fifth Ward.

History of Christ Temple Apostolic Church (CTAC)
In 1937, eight individuals, inspired by the Spirit of God and led by founder/pastor A. J. Patterson, established Pentecostal Assembly in Houston during the Great Depression. They built the initial edifice of lumber from apple crate boxes purchased from Southern Pacific Railroad. During the years of 1937-1976, the church relocated several times and engaged in impactful ministry under Senior District Elder Patterson. On July 12, 1976, CTAC became incorporated and growth necessitated a building program. The following year, building improvements were completed and the building was dedicated.

            On March 27, 1984, Elder Patterson entered his heavenly home to be with the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Through his many years of hard work, fasting, and praying he left a profound legacy. He and the ministry of CTAC established 12 churches and two outreach ministries, edified more than 2,500 members, and helped countless souls receive their salvation.

            The next month, District Elder David Allen, Sr., (stepson of Elder A.J. Patterson) who had served eight years as Assistant Pastor, was chosen as the shepherd. In May of 1984, installation services were held for Pastor Allen Sr. and a new era for CTAC began. Four years afterwards, a new worship center was constructed as God continued to expand the ministry.

            During the time period of 1995-2010, Pastor David Allen Sr. was elevated to Suff. Bishop. Being a trail blazer, he established many firsts in CTAC’s ministry which continue today. CTAC ministries include a prison outreach, food pantry, outreach to local small ministries, praise dancing, and the church’s popular Christmas Cantata. After 25 years of pastoring, the Lord prompted Bishop Allen to name his son, Pastor David Allen, Jr. as successor.


Pastor David Allen, Jr.

David Allen, Jr. was born in San Antonio, Texas to Carol Ann and David Allen, Sr. He was one of five boys reared in a religious home. His family relocated to Houston in 1976. A year later, he graduated from M. B. Smiley High School. Upon graduating, he enrolled at the University of Houston and studied Engineering. Although he did not complete his degree, he was involved in an engineering program which paved the way for him to advance into the industry. He started out as a draft person that eventually evolved into a civil/structural computer aide designer (CAD). He went on to work in this capacity for over 25-years. His role as a civil/structural computer aide designer afforded him the opportunity to serve in lead roles as a CAD coordinator on major projects both domestically and abroad in Caracas, Venezuela.

After retiring from the engineering field in 2004, he came on board to serve full-time as Church Administrator at CTAC. On February 20, 2010, he was installed as Pastor of CTAC by his father Bishop David Allen, Sr. This installment solidified him as the third pastor of the church in eight decades.


CTAC in 2017 – “Write the Vision, Make it Plain”

Pastor Allen has proven to be a gifted teacher, who is passionate about discipleship. During our interview, he shared his vision for the 80-year-old religious pillar in the community. He said, “We have been working to transition the ministry from what we call a,’ traditional ministry’. We are Apostolic or Pentecostal, but when I say ‘tradition’, I’m not talking about necessarily – denomination. I’m just talking about – the way we do church and ministry. In doing that, we are trying to cast a broader net and be appealing to all ages.”  To aid that agenda, CTAC has shortened its service to two-hours and is working to transition to a 90-minute service. Another phase the church is implementing is, relabeling its’ Sunday School classes to LIFE (Discipleship) classes, which will be held on Wednesday evenings. After which the church will seek to move the Sunday service times up, at an attempt to appeal to a broader audience.

Furthermore, Pastor Allen stressed the importance of having a strong presence within the community. Through his leadership, CTAC has started to identify and partner with four existing non-profit organizations in the community. As a result, already they have made great strides within the Barbara Jordan Endeavors Organization.  The Barbara Jordan Endeavors Ambassadors S.T.E.M. Program provides scholarships to high school students with disabilities. The foundation encourages, empowers and equips students to become self-sufficient, discover their maximum potential and achieve their academic goals. Recently, Pastor David and Lady Regina Allen were recognized at the Barbara Jordan Endeavors 3rd Annual Unique Blue Carpet Scholarship Ceremony. The organization boasts that through their efforts they have, “raised more in donations than they have in the 17-year history of the organization”.

CTAC has also with partnered with Randy and Michelle Harden of The Naomi House. The Naomi’s House is an organization which seeks to empower incarcerated women and women exiting prison. The organization’s objective is to, “increase recidivism by promoting individual responsibility and accountability through life skills and behavioral services; helping one person, one family and one community at a time, ultimately reducing crime and incarceration.” Pastor Allen expressed that the organization has been doing a phenomenal job and they are delighted to be a part of its reach.

Fresh Sprit Wellness for Women, Inc. is another effort that CTAC has partnered with in the fight against domestic violence and sexual abuse. Fresh Spirit was founded by Dr. Conte M. Terrell, who is an ordained minister. The organization is dedicated to assisting victims of domestic violence through means of: counseling, empowerment coaching, educational classes, group therapy and workshops, and financial assistance.

Last month, the CTAC held an Entrepreneur Workshop which targeted high school students. This effort was led by Casuel Pitts, another partner of the church. At the event, local Black business owners came and provided insight on how to start and operate a business. A few weekends out of the month they host seminars to high school students on how to create a business, from the ground up. Pastor Allen emphasized that this initiative is an effort to tackle poverty from an educational standpoint. In their appeal to reach the community, the church has raised several thousand dollars in support of these varying organizations. Pastor Allen expressed his sincere desire to ensure that residents know that, “the church is not just a building – but a resource center”.

Tentatively, CTAC is working to launch their Multi-Purpose Center. The Center will house sites for each of the non-profit organizations that they have partnered with. Additionally, they are planning to incorporate: GED training classes, a School of Business, a banquet hall, daycare center, classrooms, a food bank, after-school care and financial literacy classes through their LIFE Foundation organization.

Lasting Impressions:

To this day, Pastor Allen honors the legacy that his father left. In reminiscing of him, he spoke with warm words of reverence. His expressions immediately resonated that his father was his ultimate mentor and inspiration. He said, “My father was a well man, full of wisdom. Though he was illegitimately born to an orphaned child; when he gave his life to Christ as a teenager, he broke that cycle. He raised five boys and all of us in church.”  He continued, “He was a very good man… He was a role model, example and a great pastor. He mentored me up to adulthood and fatherhood.”  “I can’t point to any other person that has had a greater impact on me than him,” he added.

In rendering advice to members of the African-American community, Pastor Allen believes that it is important to be, “proactive in the lives of people outside of your biological family.” He feels that the best way to reach this goal is to become affiliated with the local church. Although often underestimated, he declares that the church is still the backbone of the Black community. He says, “Those of us that really do have a heart for our people and the community should get plugged into a local church and be part of the answer. The local church is comprised of people who are willing to get involved and they are only as good as the people that are running it.  So you got to get plugged into a local church and figure out where you can make your largest contribution; roll your sleeves up – put the boots on the ground and be a part of the solution”

Pastor David and Lady Regina Allen are celebrating 35 years of marriage this month. I was privileged to speak with Lady Allen briefly, during our interview. In doing so, she expressed her delight in sharing in on the mantle that has been passed down to her husband. She fervently declared the church’s mission statement, “Disciplining and Empowering Lives for the Kingdom of God.” She then informed that the church is a well-rounded, family-oriented ministry. Lady Allen said, “We have Children, Men, Women and Marriage ministries working here to be an asset within the community.” Pastor and Lady Allen have been blessed with three children: David, III, Jonathan (Jennifer) Allen and Meagan (Josip Juric). All of whom lead productive lives and are active in the ministry.

Christ Temple Apostolic Church is located at 6202 Lockwood Dr., 77026. For more information or details regarding the ministry contact (713) 635-1301 or visit the website at Service times are Wednesday, (Bible Study) 7:30-8:30pm and Sunday Morning Worship commences promptly at 11:00am.


Cliffdale BC Youth Department’s Annual Community Easter Egg Hunt Sun, 16 Apr 2017 14:36:27 +0000 #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item1 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item2 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item3 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item4 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item5 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item6 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item7 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item8 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item9 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item10 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item11 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item12 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item13 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item14 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item15 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item16 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item17 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item18 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item19 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item20 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item21 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item22 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item23 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item24 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item25 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item26 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item27 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item28 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item29 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item30 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item31 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item32 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item33 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item34 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item35 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item36 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item37 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item38 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item39 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item40 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item41 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item42 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item43 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item44 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item45 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; } #td_uid_1_594fe8145b51f .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item46 { background: url( 0 0 no-repeat; }


Cliffdale BC Youth Department presents Community Easter Egg Hunt Tue, 04 Apr 2017 15:12:03 +0000

Demetrius La Juan Syon, II 1990-2017 Mon, 27 Mar 2017 20:54:11 +0000 Demetruis LaJuan Syon, II, 26, was born on June 12, 1990 in Houston, Texas to Juanita Lewis Syon and the late Demetrius Syon.
Her was affectionately called LaJuan, Papoose, MeMeech and Little D, which he answered to all of them. He was baptized and a member of The Church Without Walls under the leadership of Pastor Ralph D. West, Sr. since the age of four.
LaJuan attended Southwest Prepatory School, Dominion Academy, Cypress Falls High School and Houston Community College.He enjoyed lifting wieghts, cooking, running and going to the movies with his mother. He also enjoyed making eating utensils of wood such as spoons, and bows and arrows. LaJuan was an avid reader of history, nature and politics (C-Span), he was currently reading Oliver Stone’s book “The Untold History of the United States”.
LaJuan believed in a healthy eating lifestyle and preferred growing his own vegetables but he loved bacon and Shiner beer.
Demetrius LaJuan is survived by his mother Juanita, sisters Eveln Syon and Tonya Hawkins (Andre Sr.); brother Eric Whitehead and Kevin Provo; grandparents Pearl Syon, Alvin and Yvonne Lews; aunts Debra Ruffin, Patricia Austin (Paul), Pamela Desselle (Harold),Sherri Peugh, Mona Lisa Holcomb (Curtis), Bridgette Syon; uncle Christopher “Jojo” Syon (Shirley), a favorite nephew Donovan Whitehead of Kentuckey; nieces, nephews and a host of relatives, friends and church family.

Robert E Lee III – 1942-2017 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 19:43:54 +0000 Honoring A People’s Champion Who Put “Active” in Activism

He also was known to some as the “Mayor of Fifth Ward.”
Robert E. Lee III was born on Dec. 16, 1942 to Robert and Selma Lee. His parents were unaware that the man they were about to raise would become a true people’s champ.
“He was an outstanding human being. He looked at people, at their strengths. He always tried to help,” his brother, William Lee, said. “He believed in the community. He believed in family.”
Besides wearing his honorary title given to him by residents, he also was talented community organizer, writer, storyteller and folk artist.
Raised in the Fifth Ward, he was also raised in the community and company of other political and activist giants who came from Fifth Ward and attended Phillis Wheatley High School.

Wheatley High School first opened at 3415 Lyons Avenue in the former McGowan Elementary School building on January 31, 1927.
It was at one time the largest Black high schools in the United States with 2,600 students and 60 teachers, and it was such throughout the segregation era.

Part of Team of Champions
While at Wheatley, Lee walked the halls with several other soon to be great champions in their own right, including the late Houston Congressman Mickey Leland and People’s Party II leader Carl Hampton.
George Thomas “Mickey” Leland was born Nov. 27, 1944, in Lubbock. He also graduated from Phyllis Wheatley High School in Houston’s Fifth Ward and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Texas Southern.
“Leland understood that the struggle for basic human rights – food, clothing, shelter and health care – was necessarily a global one. Leland dedicated his life to giving back, championing the causes of the poor and disempowered,” Rodney Ellis and Leland’s widow, Alison Leland wrote about Leland on the 20th anniversary of his death in 2009.
The late U.S. congressman, who succeeded Barbara Jordan in representing Houston’s historic 18th Congressional District, died in a plane crash in famine-stricken Ethiopia in 1989. He was leading an international delegation, personal mission to help others, especially in the fight against hunger.
Carl Hampton, the leader of the People’s Party II in Houston Texas was slain by police July 26, 1970 in an ambush by law enforcement.
The People’s Party II was an African American organization along the lines of the Black Panther Party and was seeking affiliation with the larger organization. They maintained close relations with the John Brown Revolutionary League, a white organization in the city.
Hampton’s organization set up a storefront office along Dowling Street in what was the heart of a working class area of Houston. The group put forward demands including black juries and judges for African Americans charged with crimes, reparations for African Americans for slavery and Jim Crow, decent housing and jobs and exemption of African Americans from military service.
The group also advocated armed self-defense against police violence.
National & Community Activist
Lee was great and a natural at being involved in his community and provided an early definition of the actions of community organizing.
It is said that ‘Organizers Organize Organizations” and Lee tapped and lived every element of is being to fit that definition and be involved in the process of building power through involving a constituency in identifying problems they share and the solutions to those problems that they desire.
The talented Lee could identify the people and structures that can make those solutions possible; enlisted those targets in the effort through negotiation and using confrontation and pressure when needed; and help build an institution that was democratically controlled by that constituency that developed the capacity to take on further problems and the will and the power of that constituency.
Lee’s grassroots affinity was ignited in San Francisco, where he worked with physically challenged children as part of VISTA,  the Volunteers in Service to America –  an anti-poverty domestic Peace Corps program.
He was promoted to a branch on the South Side of Chicago where he interacted with the Young Lords, a Puerto Rican gang, and navigated the city’s underworld.
Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale introduced him to the organization, where he learned and developed his community work and organizing abilities.
Seale is one of a generation of young African-American radicals who broke away from the usually nonviolent Civil Rights Movement to preach a doctrine of militant black empowerment, helping found the Black Panthers
In 1966, Seale and Huey Newton were ready to organize their beliefs, and they formed the Black Panthers (later renamed the Black Panther Party). Originally created as an armed force protecting the black community from the notoriously racist Oakland police, the Panthers’ reputation grew and with it the scope of the organization itself. The Panthers became a new voice in the Civil Rights Movement, and they rejected outright the mainstream movement’s nonviolent approach as well as the “Back to Africa” teachings put forth by the more radical Black Nationalists.
The Panthers focused much of their energies on community outreach, and the California movement spawned chapters across the nation.
Lee was even prominently featured in the 1969 documentary, American Revolution 2, which focused on organizing following unrest associated with the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
Harris-Houston Impact
Lee returned to Houston in 1970.
He was active as a longtime social worker for the former Harris County Hospital District, and spent many years comforting HIV patients at the Thomas Street Health Center. He had compassion for great causes and saw the value and impact of the Harris Health System on lives in the community.
For 50 years, the Harris Health System has provided services to the community by caring for the community’s under served populations and is one of America’s best community-owned healthcare systems.
The system cares for all residents of Harris County, Texas with 23 community health centers, five school based clinics and a dental center and dialysis center, mobile health units, a rehabilitation and specialty hospital and two full-service hospitals.
Patients it serves includes Hispanic – 58.4% African American – 25.7% . Of those 62-percent are Uninsured – 62 -percent and 20-percent have Medicaid and CHIP, according to system figures.
Also, for three decades in Harris County and Houston, the Kashmere Gardens resident also to help his brother the beloved and Late El Franco Lee, who served on the commissioners court for more than three decades before his death last year.
Lee also worked to create northeast Harris County programs such as a Street Olympics and to always stayed deeply connected to the community.
In recent years, Lee battled multiple sclerosis for at least two decades.
A convert to Islam, he also was known as Robert Alwalee. He leaves a host of relatives, friends and admirers including his wife, Faiza.
He will be remembered for years to come for truly making a difference with his great example of community service, compassion for others and for being a genuine and active “People’s Champion”.

By: Darwin Campbell

CHUCK BERRY – 1926-2017 Mon, 20 Mar 2017 14:28:37 +0000

Rock-n-Roll Legend Passes; Leaves Legacy, Multitude of Hits, Influence That Will Last Forever


“If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.”
— John Lennon


ST. LOUIS – He was known to many as “The Prime Minister of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “The Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll”.

No matter how you characterize him, Chuck Berry is a Rock ‘n’ Roll legend whose music will last forever in Halls of Fame and the hearts of millions.

Berry passed away at the age of 90 at his home near St. Louis, Missouri.


The family shared the announcement on Facebook and releasing the following message about Berry’s death.


“We are deeply saddened to announce that Chuck Berry – beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather – passed away at his home today at the age of 90. Though his health had deteriorated recently, he spent his last days at home surrounded by the love of his family and friends. The Berry family asks that you respect their privacy during this difficult time.”



Berry was born on October 18, 1926 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA as Charles Edward Anderson Berry to a Black contractor and deacon of a Baptist church and his mother, a qualified school principal. He was the third of six children.

As a teenager, Berry did time in a reform school for armed robbery, the first of several brushes with the law.

He originally wanted to be a professional photographer, but was inspired to pick up the guitar after singing in a high school talent show. He also started singing and playing in a band to buy cameras and photography equipment. Some of his photographs are hanging in galleries around the world today.

He also worked as a janitor, carpenter and hairdresser during his life.

Undaunted, Berry overcame Jim Crow America to survive racism, threats and places that didn’t always welcome him.

He was one of the most important influential figures in rock-n-roll in the 1950s, besides Elvis Presley.


History of Black Music


Slaves were originally brought to North America to work on cotton plantations in the South.

A by-product of the slavery era was the bringing of polyphonic songs from literally hundreds of ethnic groups from across West Africa.

In the United States, these sounds from multiple cultural traditions merged with influences from polka, waltzes and other European music.

The influence of African Americans on mainstream American began in the 19th century, when the banjo became a popular instrument. African-derived rhythms were incorporated into popular songs by Stephen Foster and other songwriters.

Drawing on traditional work songs, African American slaves began performing a wide variety of Negro spirituals and other Christian music. Many of these songs were coded messages of subversion against slaveholders or escape. Later the music transformed over decades giving birth the Blues, Jazz, Black Rock-n-Roll and R&B, Soul and Rap eras.


Dark Periods


Berry served three jail terms–for armed robbery in 1944, for violation of the Mann Act in 1959 and for income-tax evasion in 1979. He served two years in the state penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, and was released in February 1964.

However, Berry was resilient through ups and downs and did not give up or quit on the music that brought him solace and told the story of his walk through life.


Rising Superstar/Music Icon


 In 1955, Berry got his big break in music when he traveled to Chess Records in Chicago to meet Leonard Chess.

He also made his national television debut on November 8, 1957 on New American Bandstand 1965 (1952) performing “Rock and Roll Music” twice in a row, by demand of the teenage dancers in the studio.

He went onto make well known classic hits like, “Maybellene” and “Johnny B Goode”  and other well-known as distinctive chiming “Chuck Berry riff”, “Around and Around”, “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man”, “School Days”, “Memphis”, “Nadine”, “No Particular Place to Go”, “Roll Over Beethoven”, “Rock and Roll Music” and “Sweet Little Sixteen”.

He made appearances in movies Rock, Rock, RockMr. Rock and Roll, and Go Johnny Go.

He as inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a charter member and the American Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1986.

He also received the John F. Kennedy Center Honors in 2000.


Berry Respected by Many


Thousands of tributes have come in since his death, but many let him know of his greatness long before his passing.

Motown legend Smokey Robinson said of Berry. “You are most certainly the inspiration for all of today’s rock ‘n’ roll guitarists. Your music is timeless.”
Former President Bill Clinton called him “one of the 20th Century’s most influential musicians.”

In a statement about Berry, Bob Dylan told Rolling Stone in 2009  that “In my universe, Chuck is irreplaceable. All that brilliance is still there, and he’s still a force of nature. As long as Chuck Berry’s around, everything’s as it should be. This is a man who has been through it all. The world treated him so nasty. But in the end, it was the world that got beat.”

Clive Anderson said of Berry’s great talent. “While Elvis was a country boy who sang “black” to some degree … Chuck Berry provided the mirror image where country music was filtered through an R&B sensibility.”

Finally, “Chuck Berry is “a musical scientist who discovered a cure for the blues,” according to singer Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Until his passing, he performed on a Wednesday each month at Blueberry Hill, a restaurant in the Delmar Loop neighborhood in St. Louis.


By: Darwin Campbell

Wikipedia, and contributed information to this article.

Rev. Joe Samuel Ratliff Tue, 14 Mar 2017 20:50:52 +0000 HOUSTON – “It’s been in my heart and spirit to love people. A lot of people love preaching and pastoring, but they don’t like people and that has been one of my main focuses.  You got to love the folk even though it ain’t always lovable.” These words were rendered by the electrifying, power-preaching, scholar-pastor, Dr. Rev. Joe Samuel Ratliff during an exclusive interview.

In the Beginning:

            Joe Samuel Ratliff hails from the County seat of Roberson County, in the rural town of Lumberton, North Carolina. His birthright identifies him as the eldest of nine children. His mother, Mary Armwood, was a teenager when she gave birth. Her parents, (the late Ellie and Rosabell Ratliff) sent her to a boarding school and she later went to college and married. Accordingly, they took young Joe and raised him as their own, in a religious home. At any early age, he began playing the piano. As he grew in age, he grew in grace. Throughout his youth, he remained active and engaged working in the house of the Lord. He would play the piano for various churches throughout his town and at his home church, Mt. Sinai United Holy Church. In addition to being active in the religious community, he excelled in academics and was very involved in student government and the Civil Rights Movement.

He graduated high school in 1968, the same year of the assassination of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. By that time, he had already become a leader in his own right as he was involved with many marches and protests. In this dispensation, he was charged with inciting a riot and had to go to court. Not long afterwards, it was decision time in reference to his higher learning. Though he was accepted into Duke University, his Grandfather Ellie favoured Morehouse in Atlanta for two reasons. For one, it was the alumni of Dr. King. Secondly, he had no intent of sending his grandson to Duke, which had the premier hospital; yet, they denied him treatment when he had tuberculosis simply because he was a Negro. So Morehouse is where it was decided that he would go.

Ratliff made his arrival to Morehouse during the era of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement. He picked up where he left off in Lumberton and joined in on the protest movements in Atlanta. It was while attending Morehouse in his senior year, that he received an undeniable call to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He made haste and hearkened to that call and began in Ministry. It just so happened that he was playing for Cobb Memorial United Holy Church and the Pastor passed away. The members immediately called him to serve as their next leader. He would go on to shepherd there for eight years.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in History from Morehouse College, he continued his studies at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, Georgia. He earned both his Master’s and Doctor of Divinity degrees there. Afterwards, he went back to Morehouse College and taught Religion and Philosophy. In the first year of teaching there he married his first wife. He remembers his experience as a professor as a good one. He shared that he taught the likes of: Spike Lee, John Wilson (Present-day President of Morehouse) Edwin Moses (renowned track star), Martin Luther King, III, and a host of others who went on to excel in typical Morehouse fashion.

He was still pastoring at Cobb Memorial and teaching at Morehouse when he was faced with the burdensome task of having to burying his wife. She passed away from lung cancer. During this phase, he remembers dealing with a load of resentment and anguish due to the grief of losing her. It was a dark period in his journey that resulted in him leaving the church and his role as professor. After recovering from some serious bouts with depression and anger with God, Dr. Ratliff set his sights on Texas. He’d made a decision to enroll into Texas Southern University – Thurgood Marshall School of Law. His plan was to get his degree and travel the globe working for the World Council of Churches. However, he would soon learn the true meaning of Isaiah 55:8, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.”

            Prior to coming to Houston, he already had an ally in Pastor Emeritus William A. Lawson of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. Pastor Lawson is: an affluent Pastor from the Third Ward area, a giant in the struggle for civil rights and a leader in community action initiatives for over 50 years. Hence, Pastor Lawson insisted that Dr. Ratliff get involved. Consequently, Dr. Ratliff joined the Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. In doing so, he promptly began working in the church. He started a Singles Bible Class and many of the leadership of the church today, were students in his class. As time went on, Pastor Lawson influenced him to become a candidate for Brentwood Baptist Church, as the church had become vacant. Although initially reluctant due to plans that he’d previously laid out for himself, he eventually went to Brentwood to fill in for someone who didn’t show. Dr. Ratliff had already discovered some things about himself in regards to his former role as Pastor and he didn’t think that he would embark upon that journey again. He knew that he didn’t handle pain or losses well, from his encounter of losing his first wife. But, unbeknownst to him, he had a phenomenal experience. Apparently the sentiments were the same for the church, because he was called following that love at first sight moment!

            The year was 1980 when Dr. Joe Samuel Ratliff married the love of his life, the former Doris Ernestine Gardner. In that same year, he was elected as the Pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church. This feat established him as the second African-American shepherd of the church. Formerly, the church had been a predominately White Southern Baptist Church. In fact, Dr. Ratliff shared that there still remains about 50 African-Americans, who were members under the leadership of the last Caucasian Pastor.

Life at “The Wood”:

When Dr. Ratliff first assumed his role as Pastor there were about 500 members on the roll, 300 in regular attendance and the church owned six acres of land. Through his stewardship, the church has multiplied exponentially in several capacities. Today, Brentwood is categorized as a mega church with several thousand members, its campus houses 12 buildings and the church owns over 100 acres of land.

Through the leadership of Dr. Ratliff, Brentwood, also referred to as, “The Wood” is literally one of Houston’s best kept secrets. The church has implemented a great number of community outreach programs that serves to benefit residents from the Greater Houston and surrounding areas.

Long before the awakening of awareness in regards to the AIDS epidemic began, Brentwood was involved in the fight early on. The church received a grant from the City of Houston to erect a housing facility for men living with the virus. However, the community warred with the notion and influenced the city to kill it, as there was not much known about the disease at that time. From this experience, the church sued the city and won. Thereby, Brentwood was able carry their mission out and constructed a housing campus for men. Although the units are full to capacity, the project has been an impressive one. Dr. Ratliff shared that once it was completed, some of the opponents that originally fought against it, admitted that it was not what they feared. Furthermore in regards to domicile measures, the church has recently completed its fifth Habitat for Humanity home. This is a distinction that acknowledges the church as being the only one to have completed that amount.

Another facet of the church is its full pantry that supports residents from nearly twenty zip codes throughout the city, weekly. Brentwood has partnered with the Houston Food Bank in this effort. In addition to providing a full pantry, the church also donates clothing to Houstonians. Every month, the church has members from different groups that go to the Pierce elevated and feed the homeless.

In 1993 the church established Brentwood Federal Credit Unit. It was designed to teach members how to save and invest, as there is no checking component associated with it. Throughout the years, the credit union has been very successful. They have recently partnered with a local bank. Members of the credit union have the opportunity to receive car, student and housing loans. It is a project that Dr. Ratliff declares that he is proud of. In the same year, the Brentwood Community Foundation and the Brentwood Economic Community Development Corporation was founded.

For 35 years, the church through the Brentwood Community Foundation Scholarship Committee has put on a Fashion Show and Luncheon. The event is designed to raise money for scholarships for students. It is the largest fashion show in the Black community in Houston. Esteemed personalities and affluent guests from all over come to witness and patronage this effort. Through this endeavor, the church has contributed over $1.3 million in scholarships. The Fashion Show and Luncheon is co-produced by Macy’s. In its inception it was created to give scholarships to students who attended the church. Over the years, the model has changed and the scholarships are open to general students.

The Fashion Show and Luncheon further highlights Dr. Ratliff’s commitment to education. For the last 30 years, Brentwood has given $25,000 to the United Negro College Fund. Dr. Ratliff and his wife, Doris also donates a $50,000 matching grant that goes to the scholarship fund in their names. On many occasions, Dr. Ratliff has been approached by graduates from HBCU’s that tell him they are Ratliff scholars. He expressed that he believes education is a critical part of life. He said, “In Lumberton where I grew up at, there is a population of about 30,000 people and so I know what you can do if you prepare yourself.”

Bitter-Sweet Memories:

It has been said that those who proclaim the message of Jesus Christ have been, “picked out to be picked on.” However, it is a burden that comes with the task. Dr. Ratliff is no exception to the rule as he was confronted with a public scandal in 2003. This unfortunate experience affected the church to a certain extent. Although the church lost some of its members, this aspersion against Dr. Ratliff did not shake his faith nor did the word of God return unto him void. Dr. Ratliff declares that, “In spite of, we just believe what we preach. It’s not easy, but you stand and tell people that God can see you through and you have to stand on what you teach.” He continued, “Believing what I preached is what got me through and we have been standing 15 years since that. We lost, but God allowed us to do more with less. That’s been our journey. My wife of 37 years in August, stayed right there with me and we fought a good fight.” “We always sing the song, ‘We are Soldiers in the Army, we have to fight although we have to cry….’ But, the issue becomes how much of your blood is on the battle,” he added. Despite all that Dr. Ratliff has been through he remains confident and hopeful. He summed up his story by stating that, “It has been an exciting journey and I wouldn’t take a day for it.”

The Influencer, Influences:

While Dr. Ratliff has tirelessly devoted several decades worth of service encouraging, mentoring and inspiring others, even an influencer needs an influence. Thus, I was compelled to inquire about those who have been instrumental in molding him into becoming the dynamic force amongst us today. Throughout, our interview it quickly became clear that he was a strong admirer of the works of the late great, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Additionally, he shared that there were three other strong men that made a positive impact on his life. He said, “My grandfather (Ellie Ratliff) was a heavy influence in my life. He was a strong Black man with a third-grade education, but he had money. He was what we call, ‘n@*$a rich’! He sent my two uncles, my mother and me to college. He taught me how to save and invest money. To this day, I still wrap a rubber band around my currency, just the way he used to.”

Dr. Ratliff also revealed that his high school teacher, the late Howard Davis was a motivational character in his life. It was Davis who carried him on his first road trip outside of Lumberton. He was the advisor of the Student Government Association, where Dr. Ratliff served as President, during his high school days. Another effective mentor in Dr. Ratliff’s life was the Chairman of Religion at Morehouse College, Melvin Watson. Dr. Ratliff said, “Melvin Watson taught Dr. King and he was brilliant. He gave me my first job teaching at Morehouse. He influenced me greatly in terms of modeling what a true minister should be. He was the one that influenced me to argue about women’s rights in the church. My Doctorate was on the role of women in the Black Church. Brentwood was the first Black Baptist church to license women pastors. Today, we have female ministers and deacons at Brentwood, and that goes out of my early influence with Dr. Watson.”

Advice to the Black Community:

            Upon concluding our interview, I asked Dr. Ratliff if he would like to render any advice to members of our community. He fervently stated, “It is critical that somehow or another, we remember where we come from. In this turbulent time with the Trump era, we must renew our commitment to voter education and registration and get involved in the process. I can’t imagine us not understanding how significant our voting rights are.” He continued to say, “We didn’t transfer the knowledge and experience that many of us and our forefathers went through to get us to where we are. So that’s my advice – for our people to remember and renew our commitment to help ourselves.” Finally he exclaimed, “Black Lives Matter!”

Accomplishments, Awards and Honors:

To date, Dr. Ratliff has been the recipient of scores of awards, acknowledgments, accomplishments and honors. A snippet of these accolades include: being the First African-American pastor to lead the Union Baptist Association, the largest urban Southern Baptist organization in the United States representing more than 500 churches and missions; he was named “Minister of the Year” by the National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1985; the founding president of the National African-American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention; inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia in 1997; his portrait was hung in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel Hall of Fame at Morehouse, Atlanta, Georgia in 1998; served as the keynote speaker for the 2002 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.; he was presented with the Spiritual Enlightenment Award in 2003, during the Turner Broadcasting System’s 11th Annual Trumpet Award ceremonies, Atlanta; preacher for the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, Howard University, Washington D.C. for over 15 years; he has preached and lectured extensively in the United States and abroad and has led mission trips and tours to Africa and other foreign countries and a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

            His selected board affiliations include being: Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Morehouse School of Religion, Atlanta, Georgia since 1996; former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC), Atlanta; trustee on the Executive Board for the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Inc., Chicago; member, of the Board of Directors for The Houston Graduate School of Theology, Houston; Board of Directors for the Washington D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Project Foundation, Inc. since 2006; Founding Board Member, Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University, in Waco and appointed to the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (TCADA) by Texas Governor William P. Clements and served for 6 years.

In past, he was one of the Vice Chairs for the Martin Luther King, Jr. monument in Washington, D.C. He led the national campaign where he raised $10-12 million of the $100 million required to complete the memorial. He still remains on the battlefield for national movements around the nation that support social justice issues.

Last month, Dr. and Mrs. Ratliff were honored with their 37th Pastoral Appreciation Service. Pastor Ralph West of Brookhollow Baptist Church was the guest speaker, a capacity that he has served in for 35 of the Ratliff’s 37 years at Brentwood. African-American News & Issues salutes Dr. Ratliff for his commitment, loyalty and dedication to our communities.

 By: Rebecca S. Jones