Little Known Black History Fact: Rev. Fred Luter, Jr.

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  • Reverend Fred Luter, Jr. has been elected as the first black President of the Southern Baptist Convention. The organization that has had the tarnished reputation of being a place for white supremecy, racism and segregation since the mid 1800s, made a decision to change their current course in history. Reverend Fred Luter, Jr. was unopposed in the decision for his election as president.  Voted in by thousands of members, the 55-year-old pastor from New Orleans was the only one running for office of the organization.

    Reverend Luter started preaching with a megaphone on the streets of the 9th Ward. His outlook on life had changed when he escaped death in 1977 after a motorcycle accident. Once he recovered, he made a vow to spend his life serving God.

    Then in 1986, a member of the Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans discovered Rev. Luter during a local revival. The church was in desperate need of revitalization and Rev. Luter would be the key. His work would be challenging. Not only did he re-build the Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in 1986 from 50 members to 8,000, he was challenged once again after Hurricane Katrina. The church now has 5,000 members with funding of over $6 million, predominately from its members. It is the largest Southern Baptist church in Louisiana.

    As the President elect, Rev. Fred Luter will run 51,000 congregations and 16 million members, with only 1 million black members. He hopes to get more minority members on the board of the Southern Baptists Convention.

     

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