Black Pioneers in a White Denomination
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, 1994 - Religion - 258 pages
Focusing largely on two pioneering black ministers -- Egbert Ethelred Brown, founder of the first Unitarian church in Harlem, and Lewis A. McGee, founder of the Interracial Free Religious Fellowship in Chicago's black ghetto -- Black Pioneers paints a painful yet important portrait of racism in liberal religion. Includes compelling stories from some of today's more integrated Unitarian Universalist congregations and biographical notes on past and present black Unitarian, Universalist and UU ministers.
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While Rev. Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed has written several excellent books since Black Pioneers in a White Denomination, this publication continues to be the seminal work on Black ministers in Unitarian Universalism that trailblazed the exclusively white miniserial vocation. Morrison-Reed's rigorous research and compassionate and insightful narrative provides a compelling reading of the early Black ministers and the obstacles that confronted them in Unitarian and Universalism between 1912 (Egbert Ethelred Brown's graduation and fellowship) and 1947 (Lewis Allen McGee's graduation and fellowship) . These ministers endured egregious obstacles and others like Rev. McGee were able to overcome them and made lasting contributions to Unitarian Universalism. Still others like Rev. Don Speed Smith Goodloe finding the obstacles too great, left to channel their talents and gifts in more productive ways. Morrison-Reed's publication represents the earliest wave of scholarly Unnitarian Universalist ministers of color whose authentic voices documented the almost invisible lives of early black ministers. Without exception, all of these Black ministers were male. The scholarly body of work that remains to be mined is a similar treatment of Black female Unitarian Universalist ministers.To date, nothing resembling the magnitude of Morrison-Reed's Black Pioneers has been even proposed. Perhaps, the next seminal writings to surface will focus on the almost silent voices of Black Unitarian Univeralist female ministers. This scholarship, while much needed, will not reflect the early 1800s that Black Pioneers covered because the first Black Unitarian Universalist female minister, Rev. Yvonne Seon (mother of comedian David Chappell) was not ordained until 1981, one hundred and eight een years after the first white Universalist clergy woman, Olympia Brown, was ordained in 1863. Thus, while Morrison- Reed's treatment of race and to some degree class was a complex interrogation, the intersection of race, class and gender takes on added dimentions with religious dynamics added.
This writer predicts that it will merely be a matter of time before this scholarship is addressed by the current wave of women and religion scholars.Thu adding to this small but growing body of scholarship on Unitarian Universaalistism.
Two American Faiths
Egbert Ethelred Brown
Lewis McGee and
How Open Was the Door?
Integration Where It Counts
Where There Is No Vision
How Open Is the Door?
and Unitarian Universalist Ministers