Black Baptist leaders gather for historic meeting
Pictured (L to R): Rev. Dr. Samuel C. Tolbert, president of the National Baptist Convention of America International; Rev. Dr. Jerry Young, president of the National Baptist Convention USA; and Rev. Dr. David Peoples, president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention. Rev. Dr. Anthony Sharp, president of the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America, participated virtually.
Courtesy of PNBC staff reports
Millions of congregants were represented in a historic meeting of the leaders of our nation’s four major Black Baptist conventions, discussing collaboration to address issues facing African Americans across the country.
The presidents of the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC), the National Baptist Convention of America International, the National Baptist Convention USA, and the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America met together January 25.
“There is no doubt our people continue to experience racism and systemic racism, in particular,” said the Rev. Dr. David Peoples, pastor of Jabez Missionary Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky., who serves as president of PNBC.
Dr. Peoples orchestrated the meeting of the four leaders, which took place in Jackson, Miss., at New Hope Baptist Church.
Joining Dr. Peoples for this important conversation were the Rev. Dr. Jerry Young, the president of the National Baptist Convention USA and pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson; and the Rev. Dr. Samuel Tolbert, pastor of the Greater Saint Mary Missionary Baptist Church in Lake Charles, La., and the president of the National Baptist Convention of America International, Inc. The Rev. Dr. Anthony Sharp, who serves as the president of the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America, participated in the meeting virtually.
Dr. Peoples noted that the meeting was to reconnect a national social and political force to address urgent and critical issues facing African Americans.
“We continue to address police brutality, voter suppression, economic disparities, and so many more issues,” said Dr. Peoples, adding that many states are pushing politics that deny the history of African Americans and contributions made by them to the country.
“Our history should not be a legislative struggle and a divisive matter, nor should it be whitewashed,” he said. “It should be appreciated, taught and accredited.”
Two days after the meeting, video was released of the beating of Tyre Nichols by police officers in Memphis, Tenn., which led to his death. Dr. Peoples pledged to make police accountability an issue that PNBC continues to champion.
“It is unconscionable that an unarmed Black man, Tyre Nichols, could not make it home after a traffic stop,” said Dr. Peoples after the video was released.
“Unfortunately, it is tradition in America for Black lives to suffer to predation of law enforcement instead of protection. The culture of policing in America is violent, unaccountable and anti-Black, even when it involves Black police officers. This is a grueling fact from Memphis to Manhattan, Ferguson to Fort Worth.”
PNBC continues to champion the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and equivalent bills in state legislatures.
Dr. Peoples noted at the meeting of Black Baptist leaders that the United States will be voting for president and other federal offices in 2024, and the four organizations agreed on having a joint session that year.
“Our voices will be heard,” Dr. Peoples declared.