In October of 2019, the Reformed Church Center hosted “UNFINISHED BUSINESS: Fifty Years Since the Black Manifesto”, a time to re-learn some of the history of the Black Manifesto issued by James Forman and members of the Black Economic Development Conference in 1969 and its effects on the RCA and whole of the mainline Protestant church in the US. One of the results in the RCA was the formation of the Black Council, now called the African American Black Council (AABC), and a slow but steady shift in the place of people of color in the denomination. At the center of a lot of this in the early years was M. William Howard, who served as executive director of the AABC from 1972 to 1992.
Howard is the author of Black, Not Dutch: The Reformed Church in America’s Response to the Black Manifesto (Africa World Press, 2020), and will join us as we discuss this book in a webinar on Monday, December 7, at 7:00 pm. Following a brief presentation by Dr. Howard, there will be a response by Nathan Jérémie-Brink, L. Russell Feakes Assistant Professor of Global Christianity at NBTS, whose own scholarship has focused, in part, on the Atlantic trade in enslaved African peoples in the United States. He will then interview Howard, followed by an opportunity for questions and discussion.
M. William Howard is an American cleric, former college president, community and business leader. He is known for his involvement in ecumenical organizations domestically and internationally and in international affairs, especially within the Middle East and Southern Africa. A graduate of Morehouse College and Princeton Theological Seminary, he followed his service in the RCA by serving as president of New York Theological Seminary and pastor of Bethany Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a trustee of the National Urban League and the Children’s Defense Fund. He has chaires the Rutgers University Board of Governors and the New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission of 2007, which led to the abolition of the death penalty in the state. He is currently a member of the board of directors of New Jersey Resources.