Floyd Flake, Charismatic Preacher And Political Leader, To Speak
At U.Va. For African-American Heritage Month
January 22, 2002-- Floyd Flake,
the charismatic black minister who leads an11,000-member congregation
in New York, will bring his pulpit to Charlottesville next month.
has served as pastor of the Allen A.M.E. Church of Jamaica, Queens,
since the age of 31. Now 56, 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 created 11affiliated
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 the University of Virginia's Clark
Hall, room 147, on "Shifting Paradigms, Changing Perceptions and
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
his success in addressing inner-city problems, Flake won a seat
in the House of
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 D'Amato for U.S. Senate.
Congress, he supported former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's 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 programs.
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 church. 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.
Charlotte Crystal, (434) 924-6858