He is the 62nd Chaplain of the United States Senate. He was elected to this position on June 27, 2003, becoming the first African-American to hold this office. He served for over 27 years as a chaplain in the United States Navy, rising to the rank of Rear Admiral and ending his career as the Chief of Chaplains of the United States Navy, the senior chaplain of the United States Navy Chaplain Corps. He officially retired from the Navy on August 15, 2003. He has been honored in many ways for his achievements, including the NAACP's Renowned Service Award in 1995 and the Benjamin Elijah Mays Distinguished Leadership Award in 2002.
Growing up in poor, inner-city public housing in Baltimore, Maryland, his mother instilled in him a love for the Bible and made sure that he received a Christian education. His father, who was a truck driver, was rarely home, and when he was home, he drank excessively and spent little time with his children. As he got older, he and his siblings would pray for their father and their father eventually came to Christ. He says of his own salvation experience, "I had no idea that when I was running with gangs that I would find God. He [Jesus] filled the emptiness [in my life]. I'm just a boy from the 'hood, but I encountered Someone who made a difference in my life. He walks with me. He talks with me. When I wake up in the morning, He's there. He tells me that He loved me so much that He died a death that no one deserves to die." His name is Barry Black.
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