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The Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes Jr., Senior Minister of Riverside Church, Celebrates Black History Month

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The Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes Jr., Senior Minister of Riverside Church, Celebrates Black History Month

Connie McQueen, the Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes and TC President Arthur Levine.

The Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes Jr., Senior Minister of Riverside Church, Celebrates Black History Month

The Riverside Church Choir performs at TC's Black History Month Celebration Series.

The Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes Jr., the first African American to serve as a Senior Minister of one of the largest multicultural congregations in the nation, the Riverside Church, was the guest speaker at TC's Black History Month Celebration Series. Forbes was invited by the Teachers College Coalition for Black History Month, which is an organization of members from the three unions: 32BJ, 707, and 2110.

Before introducing Connie L. McQueen, Loan Counselor in the Student Aid Office, who has worked at TC for thirty years, President Levine spoke of Black History Month as "a month to celebrate." Nevertheless, he called on the members of the TC community "to act with tangible, real progress in activities to promote diversity on campus during the other eleven months of the year." McQueen provided the official introduction of Rev. Dr. Forbes Jr. by saying that he is known as the preacher's preacher in national and international circles. She added that Newsweek recognized Forbes as one of the 12 "most effective preachers" in the English-speaking world."

The audience of more than one hundred people in Milbank Chapel gave Reverend Forbes a standing ovation as he rose to speak. Forbes, an imposing figure who has led the Riverside Church since 1989, spoke of the need for "human race activists." He said, it's not enough to be against racism. You have to be committed to the human race. That means racism can never be a formative impulse in the institutions that we are part of. "Race," he said, "is an artificial construct."

Throughout the evening program and the stirring speech of Reverend Forbes, the quiet of Milbank Chapel was punctuated with the voices of the Riverside Church Choir, which provided the event with a heightened sense of celebration.

As part of the Black History Month Celebration Series, the Coalition for Black History month presented, "Honoring our Diverse TC Staff and a Philosophy of Organizational Change" with guest speaker, Associate Professor of Health Education Barbara Wallace.

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