Heritage


Vermont town honors the nation’s first ordained black minister

More than 220 years after the first ordained black minister in the U.S. became a pastor in a small, predominantly white community in Vermont and preached about brotherly love, freedom and unity, people there are honoring his life and work with an historic marker.

Ties between urban horsemen, Mennonites bolster old trade

At an inner-city stable in one of the grittiest areas of Baltimore, a vanishing breed of urban horsemen prepares for its weekly visit to Pennsylvania Dutch country, where Mennonite farmers are helping to carry on a merchant tradition handed down through generations of African-American families.

New coalition seeks sainthood for five African-Americans

The founders of two religious orders and an African-American priest who had to train in Rome because no U.S. seminary would accept him are among five candidates being supported for sainthood by a new coalition of black Catholic organizations.

Mysterious missing parts of Malcolm X’s autobiography found

For decades, a burning question loomed over a towering 20th-century book: “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”: What happened to the reputedly missing chapters that may have contained some of the most explosive thoughts of the African-American firebrand assassinated in 1965?

Feds Reopen Emmett Till Case

Last year, the 1955 case came to light again when Till’s accuser, Carolyn Bryant Donham, admitted that she lied in her testimony about the brutal beating and murder of the 14-year-old Chicago boy.

When gospel sermons came on the phonograph

The first truly African-American musical form, the “Spirituals,” took shape in the 17th and 18th centuries within the generations of slaves born into the tough American experience. Music was a daily part of their survival and sustenance. Spirituals were sung “a...

Hidden figures: How black women preachers spoke truth to power

Each semester I greet the students who file into my preaching class at Howard University with a standard talk. The talk is not an overview of the basics – techniques of sermon preparation or sermon delivery, as one might expect. Outlining the basics is not...