Friday, September 22, 2017
Churches Throughout Southland Celebrate Black History Month
By Cora Jackson – Fossett (Religion Editor)
Published February 22, 2011

Fuse Ministry of Holman UMC

By Cora Jackson-Fossett
Sentinel Religion Editor

Gospel Memorial COGIC

Two services celebrating Black History Month will be presented on Sunday, February 27, at Gospel Memorial Church of God in Christ, 1480 Atlantic Avenue in Long Beach, announced Bishop Joe L. Ealy, pastor.

At the 11 a.m. worship, the guest speaker will be Bishop Larry T. Kirkland, presiding prelate of the 5th Episcopal District A.M.E. Church.  At 5 p.m., Minister of Music Kesha Ealy will perform “A Production Concert,” said Mrs. C. L. Glover, coordinator of the events.

Bishop Kirkland, who oversees all A.M.E. churches in 16 Western and coastal states, is also president of the General Board of the A.M.E. Church. 
Elected to the episcopacy in 1996, he previously served as bishop of the 9th and 17th Districts, Ecumenical Officer, and President of the Council of Bishops.  In the 9th District, he implemented a District-wide community outreach program that included computer literacy training and health services for the uninsured.

For 20 years, Bishop Kirkland was pastor of Brookins Community A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles.  Under his leadership, the church grew from 12 to 8,000 members and became highly regarded for its socio-political presence in the greater L.A. area.

During his ministry of 40+ years, Bishop Kirkland has been featured in Ebony and Jet; on CNN and CSPANN welcoming then Senator Barack Obama to Brown Chapel A.M.E.  Church’s observance of “Bloody Sunday” and served as Eulogist for Mother Rosa Parks at her home church, St. Paul A.M.E., Montgomery, AL.  Also, he is the author of several books on church growth.

He earned a B.A. degree in Sociology from Alcorn State University where he was an All-American football player and a Master’s from Mississippi State University.  In addition, he attended Claremont School of Theology and California Graduate School of Theology.

For information about Black History events, call Gospel Memorial COGIC at (562) 599-7389.

St. Brigid Catholic Church
Presentations in honor of Black History Month will be featured each Sunday in February at 10:30 a.m., at St. Brigid Catholic Church, located at 5214 South Western Avenue in Los Angeles.

“St. Brigid is celebrating Black History Month as it has for many years,” said Pastor Thomas Frank.  “This year, we are appreciating the contribution of significant institutions within the
African American community.

The service on February 20 will focus on the ‘Voice and Visibility of the African

American Press – Yesterday and Today.’  The guest speaker will be LA Sentinel Religion Editor Cora Jackson-Fossett.
On February 27, the theme will be ‘Voice and Visibility of the African American Catholics – Yesterday and Today.’  Anderson Shaw, director of the African American Catholic
Center for Evangelization, will be the guest speaker.
Earlier this month, St. Brigid observed National Day of Prayer for the African American and African Family.  “We also shared information on three African American Catholic Orders of Religious Women founded in the 1800’s and still ministering today,” said Pastor Frank.  The church also recognized ‘World Marriage Day – Celebrating Black Committed Love.’
For information, call (323) 292-0781.

Church in Ocean Park
“The Student Nonviolent Movement and the Freedom Rides” will be highlighted on Sunday, February 27, at 10 a.m., at the Church in Ocean Park, located at 235 Hill Street in Santa Monica, announced Pastor Janet Gollery McKeithen.

“We will have three original Freedom Riders and we invite the public to come and participate in this part of the “untold stories” in American Civil Rights history,” said Rev. McKeithen.

“The Freedom Rides focused attention on the 1960 Supreme Court decision, Boynton vs. the State of Virginia, which outlawed segregation in interstate bus travel but was not being practiced in the South,” said Rev. McKeithen.

“The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) sponsored the first bus on May 4, 1961 from Washington, D.C. and invited participants from the 1960 sit-ins to join the bus ride. The Nashville SNCC team followed up with support buses, one of which was firebombed in Anniston, Alabama.”

The interfaith service will include Angeline Butler, a performer and former USC professor who served as the Nashville coordinator for the May – July 1961 Freedom Rides.  Butler is a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and contributor to the newly released publication, “Hands On the Freedom Plow: 52 Women of SNCC.”

Ralph D. Fertig, a former Federal Administrative Judge and USC Clinical Professor of Social Work, will also share remembrances.  Fertig was a Freedom Rider on the June 2, 1961 bus to Selma, Alabama and Jackson, Mississippi.

The third speaker will be Dr. Robert Singleton, currently an economic professor at Loyola Marymount University.  He was a Freedom Rider on the July 31 bus to Jackson, Mississippi.

For more details, call (310) 399-1631.

Friendywill M. B. Church
Cast members from the 1985 film, ‘The Color Purple,’ will speak at the Black History Service on Sunday, February 20, at 3 p.m., at Friendlywill Missionary Baptist Church, located at 1225 East 68th Street in Los Angeles.

“Actress Margaret Avery, who played Shug Avery, and Actor Willard Pugh, cast as Harpo Johnson, will do an up-close and personal question and answer session during the service,” said Pastor Chez J. Lister, Sr.  Also participating will be actors Ben Guillory and Felicia Walton.

The service will include Daniella Arrington as M.C., and selections by the Youth & Young Adults Choir.

Information about the free program is available by calling (323) 585-7860.
Love Peace and Happiness Family Church

Bishop Leon and Dr. Jacqueline Martin, along with the Love Peace and Happiness Family Christian Fellowship Church, will commemorate their Annual Black History Celebration on Sunday, February 20, with two services.

The celebrations convene at 3:30 p.m. at the Downey Church located at 11022 Old River School Road and at 6 p.m. at the Los Angeles Church, 1850 West 54th Street.  The theme is, “Is This What We Have Struggled For?”

Also, a special Black History program will feature the play, “If These Old Shoes Could Talk.”  There will be renditions of famous Negro Spirituals, outstanding choral selections, special performing artists, and recitations from famous Black Americans.  All events are open to the public.

Speaking about the observances, Bishop Martin shared that Black History Month originated with

Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the son of former slaves and the second black person to receive a degree from Harvard University.

He said, “Dr. Woodson and Rev. Jesse E. Moorland co-founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915.  Their goal was to research and promote awareness of the significant role that black people played in American History.  Dr. Woodson also hoped to educate black people about their cultural background and instill a sense of pride concerning their ethnicity.

“In 1920, the Omega Psi Phi fraternity created Negro History and Literature week and in1926, Dr. Woodson designated the second week in February as the official commemoration of Negro History Week.  The week-long observance was in honor of two men whose actions drastically altered the future of Black Americans.  President Abraham Lincoln who issued the Emancipation Proclamation was born on February 12, and Frederick Douglass, one of the nation’s leading abolitionists was born on February 14,” said Bishop Martin.

He added, “Dr. Woodson, who also founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, acted to change Negro History Week to Black History week in 1926.  In 1976, the same organization moved to extend the week observance to a month long celebration.  Black History Month is now recognized and widely acknowledged by the entire nation while the Association for the Study of African American Life and History continues to promote, preserve and research Black History and culture year round.”
For information, contact Love, Peace and Happiness Family Church office at (562) 806-9890. 

Holman United Methodist Church
A variety of activities celebrating Black History Month will be sponsored by Holman United Methodist Church, 3320 W. Adams Blvd. in Los Angeles. 
Rev. Dr. Henry L. Masters Sr. is the pastor.

On February 19, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., the Black History Month Festival will be held focusing on, “Celebrating Our Heritage Across the African Diaspora.”  The event theme is, “There Is More That Makes Us Alike Than Different!”

“We invite all of our brothers and sisters from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas to come out and share your culture, your traditions, and your gifts.  Wear your cultural dress and join us for the festivities.  There will be African drummers and dancers, African American praise dancers, spoken word artists, Belizean dancers, a Caribbean jazz band and foods from all over the world,” said Dr. Masters.

The festival will be hosted by Mollie “straight out of Compton” Bell and the keynote speaker will be Dr. Salim Faraji, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at California State University, Dominguez Hills and an associate minister at Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. Church in Irvine.

“Dr. Faraji is one of the leading new Africana scholars in the nation specializing in African, African-American, and African Diaspora history and culture.  In addition to being the author of several books and scholarly articles, Dr. Faraji is also vice-president of Building Libraries for Africa, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing libraries and literary resources for rural villages in Africa. He has made several trips to West Africa and Egypt and is married Naa Lomley-Faraji of Ghana,” said Rev. Gary B. Williams, associate pastor and coordinator.

The event will culminate on February 20 at 6 p.m. with the FUSE Ministry worship experience, Holman’s young adult ministry. Dr. Faraji will be the guest preacher.

Other activities planned by Holman UMC include the Annual Black History Month Marketplace and the 52nd Annual Negro Spirituals Concert.  Both programs will be held February 26-27.

For information, call Rev. Williams at (323) 731-7285.

Second Baptist Church
Beacons in the Church and community will be recognized throughout February by Second Baptist Church, 2412 West Griffith Avenue in Los Angeles.

According to Pastor William S. Epps, “Black History Month is our time to reflect on how far we have come and acknowledge those who have made a difference in our lives and society.  This February, as we observe Black History Month, we will place emphasis on Second Baptist Church legends.

“Special acknowledgements planned by the 85th Anniversary Committee will seek to recognize families, individuals and businesses that have contributed to our history as a church and to our community at large.”

Last Sunday, the Van Vector family was saluted for maintaining membership through four generations.   “We wanted to recognize their longevity as dedicated members of Second Baptist across the years.  They have a long list of family members that have contributed to the church,” said Rev. Dr. Epps.

On February 20, Media Day will be celebrated as Second Baptist honors Karen Slade, general manager of KJLH radio station; Lisa Collins, publisher of L.A. Focus newspaper; Danny Bakewell, Sr., publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel and the L.A. Watts Times newspapers; Pluria Marshall, Jr., publisher of the Los Angeles Wave newspaper; and Natalie Cole and David Miller, publishers of Our Weekly newspaper.

“The quotation on the Masthead of the North Star newspaper founded by Frederick Douglass in 1874 stated, ‘Right is of no sex – Truth is of no color – God is the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren.’  It is in this spirit that Second Baptist will honor members of the media for their contributions to our community,” said Dr. Epps.  “Also, Vassie Wright, founder of Our Authors Study Club and longtime Second Baptist Church Secretary, will be recognized for her contributions to our church and for her commitment to literacy in our community.”

On February 27, Second Baptist will continue its celebration of being in the current edifice for 85 years by recognizing the families of two men.  “Their talents and collaboration made this building possible,” Dr. Epps said.

“The fifth pastor of Second Baptist Church, Dr. Thomas Lee Griffith Sr., served from 1921 to 1940. He led the membership in erecting the current facility at the corner of Griffith Avenue and 24th Street.  The building was designed by Paul R. Williams and Norman R. Marsh.  Dr.  Griffith’s vision guided the architects in what they presented to him for approval and the church we now call home.”

The Black History Month special series was planned by the 85th Anniversary Steering Committee and led by members of the Memorial and Historical Commission.  Cathy Woodruff is chairperson and Faye Osborne is vice-chairperson. For information, call (213) 748-0318.

Pleasant Hill Baptist Church
The closing services of the month-long African American History Celebration will be held Sunday, February 27, at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, 2009 West Martin Luther King Boulevard in Los Angeles.

“Everyone is invited to attend our 10 a.m. morning worship which will be followed by a wonderful fellowship lunch,” said Dr. Sylvester Washington, pastor.  “The day will culminate with a special program on African American Heritage hosted by our Youth Department and starting at 3 p.m.”

For more information, call the church office at (323) 293-6448.

Praises of Zion M.B. Church
The Youth and Young Adult Department of Praises of Zion Missionary Baptist Church will present ‘Voices from the Negro Baseball League’ on Sunday, February 27, at 3:30 p.m., at 8222 South San Pedro Street in Los Angeles.

“Join us on our journey through history as we take you out to the ball game. We will take a ‘look see’ on the other side of the color line where the Negro Leagues were formed and featured those players barred from organized baseball,” said Rev. Dr. J. Benjamin Hardwick, senior pastor.

“You will meet and greet new people and perhaps some of your old friends and favorites.  The batter is up, and let’s play ball!”

Sister Cheryl Roach is director of youth.  Call the church office at (323) 750-1033 for more information.

Calvary Baptist Church

A Black History Month concert will take place on Sunday, February 27, at 4 p.m., at Calvary Baptist Church, 4911 W 59th Street in Los Angeles.

Pastor Virgil Jones said, “We are featuring the musical talents of Blanche Laws McConnell, of the famed Laws Family. In addition, we will have the accomplished Rose Magee Freeman who wrote ‘Wise Men Still Seek Jesus.’
Finally, we will have Irvin Foster who has written and played for people like Wayman Tisdale and Kirk Whalum. This promises to be an event well worth one’s time.”

Admission to the concert is free. For information, call (323) 298-1605 or visit

Categories: Religion

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