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National Black Presbyterian Caucus dinner

‘We are very much alive.’

July 5, 2012

Pittsburgh

The National Black Presbyterian Caucus (NBPC) sold more tickets to its July 3 dinner at the 220th General Assembly than expected — a reflection of the “rejuvenation” occurring across the caucus, said the Rev. Arlene Gordon, president of the group.

“NBPC is in a new day,” Gordon said. “We are very much alive.”

The caucus heard from Wendell Freeland, who served in the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II. The Tuskegee Airmen were the nation’s first black military airmen.

Freeland spoke about his time in the military and the ways he experienced racism and segregation there. He was one of 101 African American officers who participated in what is known as the Freeman Field Mutiny. They were arrested for disobeying orders to sign a form regulating segregation in an officers’ club.

“This was a great moment in the civil rights movement in America,” said Freeland, who received a standing ovation. “Being here as the National Black Presbyterian Caucus is a symbol that we still have a long way to go.”

The NBPC also honored the Rev. Arthur Canada, who is stepping down as caucus treasurer to serve as vice moderator of the General Assembly Mission Council.

“What we heard today is a message for this denomination right now,” Canada said. “Games are over.”

He urged the NBPC to pray and advocate for funding for an African American Church Growth Strategy, which will be discussed by the full Assembly this week.

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