An African-American pastor who recently became involved with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship told a dinner gathering for friends of Baptist News Global June 23 his hope is the movement would become less concerned about “just having blacks in white space” for the sake of diversity and more involved in building institutions that empower the masses of African-Americans in predominantly black neighborhoods.
Kevin Cosby, pastor of St. Stephen Church in Louisville, Ky., said despite the best intentions of white people of good will, the reality is that racism is permanent and there is always going to be a black community.
“It’s a sad reality, but it is a reality,” Cosby said. “Concentrated poverty is here. The only question is are we going to have institutions in this space that serve these people.”
“If CBF can ever partner with institutions in the ‘hood to create a strong presence in black space, it will be transformational,” he said.
Cosby, pastor of the predominantly African-American church started by his grandfather for 37 years, described his philosophy for Empower West Louisville, a collaborative effort to invest in black lives he expanded in the last year to include white partners including leaders of the Kentucky Baptist Fellowship.
“Part of the problem with the urban community is integration,” Cosby said. “That is one word that I detest. I detest the word integration, because integration has meant the disintegration of black institutions that service the masses.”
“The word for me is reconciliation,” he said. “Integration is a social construct that is built on the premise that there is something defective about blackness and that blackness is something that black people have to overcome. The black classes get absorbed into white-controlled institutions thus leaving the masses of African-Americans leaderless.”
Cosby said it’s no different than the narrative in the Old Testament book of Nehemiah.
“The Jerusamelites lost their leaders,” he said. “Nehemiah was then absorbed into the Persian Empire and had to make a decision whether or not he was going to be a Jew or a Persian.”
“So Nehemiah said, ‘I am going back to the ‘hood and engage in empowerment,’” Cosby said. “That’s what I have been doing at St. Stephen Church for the 37 years I have been there.”
Cosby said prior to integration, there were five black institutions that formed the backbone of the African-American community – strong black churches, families, media, schools and businesses. All five, he said, have been dismantled due to integration.
Source: Baptist News Global | BOB ALLEN