EMPOWERING THE AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE IN THE
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.’S BELOVED COMMUNITY
The context of this project will be Baconton Missionary Baptist Church in Allenhurst Georgia. This project seeks to address the effectiveness of BMBC’s Male Ministry. It is hoped that the empowering of these African American males will in turn strengthen the community served by the church. The project will involve the development and implementation of a six-week male empowerment program addressing myriad life concerns. It will be formatted into a series of week-long modules which will include interpersonal and self-assessing questions, small group sessions, pre and post questionnaires, and focused one-on-one interviews. Participants will include fifteen African American men from Baconton Missionary Baptist Church. The difficulties faced by Baconton are by no means unique, as they are problematic for a multitude of African American Churches. Thus, if a leadership and community engagement model is enacted at Baconton Missionary Baptist Church, then the Men’s Ministry will begin the process of spiritual development and personal empowerment.
Additionally, this project could function as a model for other churches in similar circumstances.
THEME AND HYPOTHESIS
African American men have endured several obstacles including racism, poverty and discrimination of all kinds. Yet, many continue to stand tall despite the numerous issues, concerns and attacks that society has systematically launched against them. The mistreatment and negative portrayal of black men is an ongoing saga that began with slavery nearly 400 hundred years ago. Given the state of African American males, this project proposes to identify the cause and develop a program to empower this vulnerable but enriched group of individuals that will result in the creation of a Beloved Community.
African American men have been fighting for their place in society and the power to retain the role of leader in their families since their feet touched the soil of America. When Black men were brought to the colonies, they were an element of torture and disrespect. The identity of Black males was lost, and they had a miserable life in the southern states. The damage continued in various ways as slave owners sought to destroy the strength and power of Black males. Stanley Elkins, in his book, Slavery: A Problem in American Institutional Intellectual Life, explains the power to emasculate the enslaved boys and men by using them for entertainment purposes and forcing them to have sex with different female slaves and each other in front of them and their friends. These actions were standard among slave-owners in the deep South.
In spite of this, African American men found ways to become a leader and activist for the black community. During the times of chattel slavery, African American men served as the worship leader in what Raboteau coined, “the Invisible Church.” Away from their masters and overseers, slaves would assemble in swamps and other remote areas to worship God in the way of their ancestry and culture. The male members would lead the meeting and began reciting scripture based on their limited knowledge of the bible. Black men would empower the slaves to forget all their sufferings and hope for a better tomorrow.
As an Activist, African American men would organize and begin to solve the various social injustices. The issue of race relations was usually discussed in the basement of a church. The church was also the platform used to distribute propaganda. For instance, Henry McNeal Turner, one of the first bishops of the African American Episcopal Church, used a monthly newsletter, The Voice of Missions, as a way to promote emigration or African colonization as a solution to the race problem.
Moreover, African American men led Slave insurrections. Two well- known attempts are Denmark Vessey insurrection of 1822 and Nat Turner in 1831. The Denmark Vessey rebellion occurred in Charleston in the basement of an AME Church. Vessey was a free man; but his wife and children were still slaves. His religious principles prompted him to seek freedom for all enslaved people. The Nat Turner insurrection occurred in Southampton, Virginia. Turner was a known prophet but did not have connections with the local church. Turner believed that it was a calling from God to execute slave owners, their women and children. Turner and his followers held firm to this view even while they stood trial and endured execution. Because of the revolts, severe restrictions were imposed on religious activities.
A Civil Rights advocate and litigator, Michelle Alexander, in her book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, argues for a new form of racism against African American males. Alexander contends that African American males are subjected to “legalized discrimination in [the form of] employment, housing, education, public benefits and jury service… in the less than thirty years, the United States penal population exploded from around 300,000 to more than 2 million…. the highest rate of incarceration in the world” This system of racism has emerged as a system of social control, which appears to target African American males.
The dominant narrative is that Black men are criminals, damaged, unfaithful, non-providers, and the list of negative stereotypes continues. However, I contend that if black men, collectively, identify the various systemic challenges and stereotypes, and negate them with positive scriptures and anecdotes, then black males, who were once devoid of hope, can become empowered leaders of their family and community.
This research aims to create a program to support and encourage Black males to become better leaders in their communities and within the family structure. This project is designed to use scripture, mentoring, and role-play to restore the leadership qualities of the Black male in the family and the beloved community. This project involves the men of (BMMC) to share their stories in hopes to empower one another and begin creating Beloved Community within their neighborhoods and context.
If a leadership and community engagement model is enacted at Baconton Missionary Baptist Church, then the Men’s Ministry will begin the process of spiritual development and personal empowerment.
My hypothesis solves the problem of the Men’s Ministry at Baconton Missionary Baptist Church not being actively involved in their community. If Baconton’s men are ill equipped to impact their community, they lose their credibility of being a vital community resource.
The project will involve qualitative research where I will conduct one-on-one interviews, surveys and small group discussions with Black men of Baconton Missionary Baptist Church,
Baconton Missionary Baptist Church (BMBC), founded in 1859, is a generational ministry
located in Allenhurst, Georgia.
In the years of the eighteen hundreds, churches were miles apart. People from this community traveled by horse and wagon or walked to worship at First African Baptist Church in Riceboro Georgia. The time came when these God-fearing people decided to build a church in their own community. At first, they gathered under a bush arbor to sing, pray, and ask God to send his Holy Spirit to lead and guide them. With God’s divine guidance, the people built a church on faith, with prayer, love, hope and commitment to each other and to God. Baconton Missionary Baptist Church has a rich and colorful history. This church has stood as a symbol of the community’s strength, faith, and commitment to a Christian way of life. Let us now take a look at that history which has played a vital role in shaping lives of the people in this community and this county. (6)
The mission is: To rebuild lives and rebuild the city of Allenhurst
from the inside out through transformative worship experiences and Christ-centered outreach.
In the year 1869, Rev. WM. Quarterman and 5 deacons namely: Julius Rogers, Joe Howell, P.M.
McIver, Flanders Pray and Will Bacon, along with thirty-five members decided that they would
build a church in their community. These God – fearing people named their church, Baconton
Missionary Baptist Church, by all accounts in honor of Deacon Will Bacon.
The mission of the Men of (BMBC). is “to serve as a beacon of leadership by utilizing our diverse talents to create an environment in which Allenhurst Black males are motivated to achieve and are empowered to become self-sufficient shareholders in the economic and social fabric of their communities.”
The Goal of this project is to create a mentorship program that regenerates and exposes Black men to different opportunities in hopes that through these experiences, change is created. BMBC’s goal is to prepare Black men mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually to go out into the world and be the best version of themselves, impact their families and the beloved community, and make a change. A all star Associate professional contex team has been assembled to not only accept this challenge but to also accomplish this monumental task,
Dr. Hermon Scott, the Senior Pastor of Baptist Church of Baconton Missionary, is among the professional persons picked. The key reason for them being picked is their effective skills and ability to deliver excellent guidance. I am delighted that Dr. Hermon Scott will assist me with my survey ideas, particularly judging whether the questions produced are linked to the major subject. Since establishing whether the answers will generate measured replies that test my hypothesis, depending on my assumptions, is a challenge for me, Dr. Hermon Scott will play a significant part here. He is an essential individual in my project since I will need his favor to conduct my validation method for the device I am constructing.
Another important professional is Dr. Pamela Scott, the Head of the Community Education Service Program in Allenhurst, Georgia, and the outlying towns. Dr. Pamela Scott has sufficient expertise since she previously worked as a medical educator; hence, she will be in charge of data analysis. She will analyze the proposed questions, compare clustering responses, and determine whether the questions will provide acceptable scaled conclusions during data analysis. However, parameters like group size, length, and question clarity are all important when utilizing member demographics and relating them to findings.
The other important professional is Dr. Edith Anderson, an associate professor of theology at Divinity, Seminary in Hinesville, Georgia. Her abilities are excellent; therefore, I will ask her to help draft questions that align with a prophetic ministry plan for the Church. However, this endeavor will need the men of the Church to concentrate on establishing pride and hope in their families and their church community continually.
In this project, I and the associate’s professional team, will work with the men of Baconton in every way possible. However, the men of Baconton Missionary, on the other hand, will be among those who will become the trailblazers for other churches in developing a men’s program for African American Male Empowerment in the Martin Luther King beloved Community.
The project will consist of a qualitative method to provide data from a questionnaire with open-ended questions. The Likert scale questionnaire will be used for the data collection process. The questionnaire will address various components of male life experiences and how racism has affected them professionally, familial, educationally, and spiritually.
The research will involve 15 men from BMBC. Participants will be recruited from various community activities. It is anticipated that the various venues will have potential participants from disparate socio-economic, academic, and professional levels and different family dynamics. Data collection will occur for six weeks. The surveys are designed using quantitative methods and interview techniques based on Creswell. The recommendations and results will be used to develop a one-day workshop designed to empower Black males.
Focused one-on-one interviews of various Black males will be conducted. The data from the interviews and questionnaire will be analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) tool in which descriptive analysis will take place. After the data is collected, the analysis will be entered into an electronic polling system to critique the results. Upon completion, the data will be compiled into a report to be shared with local church leaders and community leaders focused on male enrichment and creating male-focused programs for men seeking support, training, resources, and empowerment.
For an African American male to successfully navigate life requires a holistic approach. Each of the six week long modules of the proposed program is integral to affording the participants the tools to overcome familial, financial, and systemic obstacles, and by doing so to begin playing a vital part in the community.
During the first week of the Module, the sole purpose of the project will be to ensure spiritual development of the African American males in the program. Through this module the African American males will be able to interact and share different ideas on various challenges they encounter in their day to day lives. They will be able to embrace their identity and boost their self-esteem which totally changes their perception about life in general. Through this module more males will be able to take part in the male ministry in churches and have an opportunity to commune around common issues affecting their society.
The Second Module will also focus on the physical well-being of African American males. Through the module offered in the second week, the male participants will be encouraged to embrace and value their identity. With the empowerment the black males will value their physical well-being and their rights. Because of fear and distrust engendered by institutional discrimination, a lot of African American Males refuse to seek healthcare or mental medication, take part in institutional events, or work together with law enforcement agency. As a result, health and psychological specialists, teachers, business people, police, and political figures must be aware of their own biases, which may be negatively affecting the services they give. With the success of this module, African American males will have a different view.
The Third Module aims to empower the black males through ensuring that they commit to their families. This will be conducted through providing role models and mentors to the African American males who will not only serve as an example to them but also develop and empower them academically, their mental health and economic capabilities. Through this development, they become responsible members who can lead their families and their community at large. With such developments a beloved society will definitely be created.
Fourth Module Social development is also a key empowerment that the project will center on as one of its modules. Developing the social skills among the African American males will not only benefit them but it will also come with a great benefit to the whole society. The project will ensure that it develops skills among society’s many members. Social workers, educators, and lawyers can benefit from cultural competency training because they gain a better understanding of various cultures. Set of skills that will allow them to offer facilities that encourage communal equality for sidelined groups like African American Males. Ethnic proficiency teaching demonstrates to people to not only respect and welcome dissimilarities, but also to be familiar with parallels concerning cultures. Being familiar with and appreciating commonalities can help professionals (such as police officers) build connections with members of the community who are not like them and react appropriately in culturally diverse settings. Specialists (social workers, law enforcement agency officers, educationalists, and others) will be better able to diffuse bad situations if they have a better understanding of the way people from diverse beliefs respond in different circumstances founded on their ethnic beliefs and principles. Professionals will handle varied communities with respect and non-judgment as they gain cultural competency skills. It is significant to identify that ethnic proficiency teaching will not do away with a person of all their prejudices. Being ethnically proficient should be regarded as a progressive procedure and an objective that a single person/organization is constantly headed for. Irrespective of how ethnically proficient a person or an organization turns out to be, there will continuously be a chance for development.
Module 5 Another crucial model that the research will focus on to empower the African American males is through ensuring their financial development. Since most African American males do not have the benefit of generational wealth, the project will help them discuss better ideas to develop financially. The program will provide them a forum where they will get to interact with each other exposing them to better opportunities to make money and grow financially and also to make better financial decisions. Through such discussions the Black males will turn out better and educated on financial matters
Module 6 that will be conducted on the sixth week of the program is enabling the African American males develop their leadership skills. The program intends to ensure that there is a supply of role models as a strategy implemented to keep the empowerment of African American Males. Assuring the presence of role models like African American leaders or even Black male instructors in school will motivate them and allow them to feel a part of the community and that they can be part of the leadership in their societies. This module provides an open forum for the men to ask and answer questions. In this way they will be able to learn to speak publicly, a key element for any leader.
The research will be conducted by a team of volunteers. The volunteers will distribute surveys, and the researcher will tabulate the results confidentially. As per the ethical and moral values for research conduction, the privacy and security of every participant’s data is the prime responsibility of the researcher. The information will be used for the analysis of the data and will be stored in a secured location for 5 years.
Age __19-25 ___26-34 ___35-44 ___45-54 ___55 and over
Physical Well Being
Is your physical wellness where you’d like it to be for your age? Explain
Is your relationship with God where you would like it to be? Explain.
If your family and friends had to describe you, what would they say?
As a Black man, what role does religion or spirituality play in your life?
How do you view yourself as a Black man?
If you have children, how would they describe you as a father?
Pre and Post Project Questionnaire
What do you believe are 3 of the biggest issues in your beloved community today? Explain.
What type of legacy do you want to leave for your family, church, and community?.
What is your present feeling about yourself and the outlook of your life? Why?
What, if anything, prevents you from having a positive/healthy outlook on life? (Examples: racism, lack of opportunities, poverty, etc.) 5.
What issues are you facing or have previously faced in transitioning to adulthood?
What are your feelings concerning the media portrayal of young Black men and boys? Explain your feelings.
What do you see when you look in the mirror? Explain your feelings.
Focused Individual Interviews
How have racially charged incidents such as the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd affected you?
What was your initial reaction?
How have the above events impacted your daily life and movement in the world?
Please share some positive things you could do for self-care.
If you had a role model, who would it be and why?
Additionally, sharing this information within the beloved groups targeted at the empowerment of Black males and his survival as a leader should gain significant support from the final analysis. The outcome from the program should show improvement in the Black communities and families if the resources are utilized.
The church’s contribution to the repair of this problem will require more action than prayer and fasting. When looking at the various concerns and emasculation of Black males, the story of Ham has been believed to be the curse that resulted in the Black color. The research will show that the responsibility of the Black male’s demise falls on the heads of many; while this study is not designed to create blame, it is made to highlight the problem. The responsibility lies in many places where acceptance must be recognized and addressed. This project will address the good and bad that have played a role in the limited empowerment of the Black male and how this can change.
With instruction and oversight from my professional associates, I will tabulate and analyze the data. I will conduct and record one-on-one interviews. I will also record any obstacles, challenges and opportunities revealed from interviews and small group discussions. In particular, as we work to empower black males, I will record any points that hinder the advancement or systemic challenges. Both the results from the surveys, interviews and small group discussions will be included in my findings.
October-December 2021 (Third Semester)
Discuss project and timeline with team and supervisors
Outlining curriculum for training module
Meet and confer with contextual associates, professional associates, and Baconton Missionary Baptist Church. Staff to discuss the project and timeline, while briefing participants on project.
January 2022 (Fourth Semester)
Submit Candidacy Packet
Select and solicit 15 Male participants from Baconton Missionary Baptist Church
Edit curriculum outline for focus group training (workshop, test questions, interview questions).
Training for focus groups begins
Upload Candidate Review Package to Canvas
Submit Project to Internal Review Board via Cayuse
Implement 6-Week Curriculum on project
Submit work to editor
August – December 2022 (Fifth Semester)
Complete Project analysis
Prepare for Defense
January/May 2023 (Sixth Semester)
Complete final edits
May 2023 Graduation
Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New York, New York: New Press, 2010.
“A Black Man in a Dress: No Laughing Matter.” npr, accessed December 5, 2021. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5626512.
Creswell, John W. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publishing, 2018.
Elkins, Stanley M. Slavery: A Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life. Oxford, United Kingdom: University of Chicago Press, 1987.
Lee, June. Yet with a Steady Beat: The Black Church through a Psychological and Biblical Lens.
McMickle, Marvin. An Encyclopedia of African American Christian Heritage. Judson Press, 2002.
Merritt, Keri Leigh. Men Without Pants: Masculinity and the Enslaved. September 11, 216. https://www.aaihs.org/men-without-pants-masculinity-and-the-enslaved/.
Raboteau, Albert. Slave Religion: The Invisible Institution in the Antebellum South. New York, New York: The Oxford Press, 1978.
“Sexual Violence Targeting Black Women.” EJI Reports, accessed December 5, 2021. https://eji.org/report/reconstruction-in-america/the-danger-of-freedom/sidebar/sexual-violence-targeting-black-women.
The way I plan to assess participants’ empowerment at the end of the six-week male empowerment process will be through how they are able to better articulate their sense of awareness and growth in the areas of spiritual growth, physical well-being, faith development, social development, financial development, and leadership development.