Floyd Flake to speak Feb. 5
By Charlotte Crystal
Flake, the charismatic black minister who leads an 11,000-member
congregation in New York, will bring his pulpit to Charlottesville
56, has served as pastor of the Allen A.M.E. Church of Jamaica,
Queens, since the age of 31. He has built his church on the self-help
philosophy of A.M.E. founder Richard Allen and led the congregation
to address inner-city problems by creating a safety net of social
services and business enterprises. His church has since created
11 affiliated corporations to fight urban blight by renovating
neighborhood houses and stores, founding a private school and
building housing for seniors.
will speak Feb. 5, at 7 p.m. in Clark Hall, room 147, on Shifting
Paradigms, Changing Perceptions and New Perspectives.
talk is part of the Explorations in Black Leadership
series, co-sponsored by U.Va.s Institute
for Public History and the Darden
Graduate School of Business Administration. It is one of many
events planned for African-American Heritage Month at U.Va.
son of a Houston janitor and one of 13 children, Flake was the
first in his family to attend college, earning a degree from Wilberforce
University in Ohio. He began preaching while working in sales
for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and later in marketing for Xerox. He
served as an associate dean at Lincoln University, and as acting
chaplain and director of the Martin Luther King Afro-American
Center at Boston University.
his success in addressing inner city problems, Flake won a seat
in the House of Representatives in 1986 and began commuting between
Washington and New York. While his voting record is primarily
that of a liberal Democrat, he often surprised some of his constituents
by endorsing the candidacies of several conservative Republican
New Yorkers, in particular, Rudolph Giuliani for mayor of New
York City, George Pataki for governor, and Alfonse DAmato
for U.S. Senate.
Congress, he supported former House Speaker Newt Gingrichs
conservative social program, Contract with America,
and endorsed the idea of school vouchers. Flake joined with conservative
politicians when their policies promised to benefit his community
juggling two demanding jobs for nearly a decade, Flake stepped
down from his seat in Congress mid-term in 1997 to devote more
time to his congregation. He has been quoted many times as saying
that black ministers need to take their place as the new black
leaders, believing that a generation of black politicians have
failed to fulfill their responsibilities to their communities.