From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ABCUSA: Virginia Union Hosts Civil Rights Milestone Conference

From "SCHRAMM, Richard" <>
Date Thu, 29 Apr 2004 07:55:58 -0400

American Baptist News Service (Valley Forge, Pa. 4/27/04)--"The Legacy of
Brown vs. the Board of Education: New Perspectives on a Half Century of
Change," held April 16 at American Baptist-related Virginia Union University,
Richmond, Va., commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark Supreme
Court decision against segregation.  

Organized by Dr. Raymond P. Hylton, the conference brought together Virginia
Union alumni who as students had demonstrated for civil rights.  Speakers
described their own involvement in sit-ins, marches and freedom rides to
several southern centers of resistance to the desegregation of public spaces.

Dr. Deborah Van Broekhoven, executive director of the American Baptist
Historical Society, presented a paper dealing with the impact of the civil
rights movement on (then) American Baptist Convention.	She noted that the
development of a largely black region of the South within ABCUSA was a direct
result of denominational support for the civil rights movement. Leadership in
the region came from leaders of black colleges, including Virginia Union and
Morehouse University, as well as from several ministers formerly with the
Southern Baptist Convention.  Van Broekhoven cited the Rev. J.C Herrin as a
key  leader who served as a "stealth civil rights missionary" while raising
funds for southern work sponsored by the American Baptist Home Mission
Society, the American Baptist Board of Education, and American Baptist
General Secretary the Rev. Dr. Edwin Tuller.
The keynote speaker was the Rev. Charles M. Sherrod, Civil Rights pioneer and
an organizer of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Other topics
covered included a survey of efforts from 1959 to 1964 to educate black
children in Prince Edward County, one of the Virginia counties that closed
public schools for these years rather than integrate them, and a presentation
by Dr. Eric King of Virginia Union critiquing the concept of colorblind

Virginia Union and Morehouse Universities are two of the 27 historically
black colleges and universities that were founded following the Civil War by
The American Baptist Home Mission Societies (now known as National


American Baptist News Service: Office of Communication, American Baptist
Churches USA, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851; (800)ABC-3USA x2077
/ (610)768-2077; fax: (610)768-2320;;

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