103d Hampton University Ministers Conference celebrates black business

Since 1914, the Hampton University Ministers Conference has galvanized the black church.  Rep. Bobby Scott, D-VA, greets president Rev. Dwight Riddick and First Lady Vera Riddick before the opening ceremony in the Hampton Convocation Center.  Scott and Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck prepare to speak to the 10,000 delegates.   BlackWealth2020 introduced its goals at its booth and during opening remarks by National Black Business Month co-founder John William Templeton.

The origins of the black church began with burial services, often in secret


More than a century and half before organized churches, Africans always practiced their religion by burying their dead, often in secret. One of those places was the three-block long African Burial Ground in what is now lower Manhattan, where 15,000 were interred. These were the builders of what became New York City.

When the Ted Weiss Federal Building was being built, those graves were disturbed by the excavation.  Rev. Herbert Daughtry, National Presiding Minister of the House of the Lord Churches, went into the site and realized that "these might be the bones of one of my relatives."

 He laid down in front of bulldozers to lead a community uprising that stopped the project until Howard University was retained to preserve the graves.  In 2006, the African Burial Ground National Monument was unveiled.  With the help of Forest City Ratner Companies, we honored Rev. Daughtry on the 25th anniversary of his courageous leadership.

Rev. Dr. Dwight Riddick, pastor of Gethsemane Baptist Church in Newport News, VA, asked if the African-American church was losing touch with its prophetic roots during his opening address as 40th president of the Hampton University Ministers Conference.   He used the example of Pompeii, the Roman city buried by a volcanic eruption, to note that there was warnings of smoke clouds and rumbling before the volcano.  The theme for the 103d conference was Prophetic Preaching.  Dr. William Harvey, president of Hampton, marked is 39th year as the dean of HBCU leaders by discussing only big thoughts such as the largest proton cancer center in the world.

The Indispensable Black Church

Dr. Calvin Butts III, senior pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church, leads the most visited black church in the country as he holds a book by Dr. Raphael G. Warnock, pastor of Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church.

In the 200th anniversary year of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, make every Sunday Black Church Sunday.  It is the answer to the question, "How I got over?" 


Hallowed Ground

The African Methodist Episcopal Church started 200 years ago at Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, the oldest piece of property continuously owned by African-Americans in the nation.

The church marked its history in Philadelphia at its recent conference.

Bishop Richard Allen set the nexus of economics and religion by also forming the Free African Society, a mutual benefit society, and organizing the National Negro Convention in 1830 to set the strategy for the abolition movement.

Allen walked out of a church after being forced to worship in the balcony.


Free African Society is one of the iconic names of the 19th century which answers the question about how black people saw themselves.  Like Abysssinian and African Methodist Episcopal and First African Baptist and First African Presbyterian, the people who came to the United States did not forget where they came from.





During a tour to the site of the 164-year-old Third Baptist Church's original location in 1852, a 33 year old lifelong resident of San Francisco was so moved that he changed his plans to leave the city.  He explained that now he understood why it was so important for African-Americans to stay where they had such a deep foundation.   The current site was recommended as a historic landmark by the City and County of San Francisco in July.