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Moody Celebrates Black History Month

Month-long celebration features art, food and gospel music

Moody Bible Institute commemorated Black History Month with an art exhibit, a poetry event, Soul Celebration and much more.

Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as a time to celebrate and recognize the importance of Black history in the drama of the American story. February was selected because President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Frederick Douglass were both born in this month.

“Black history is a part of American history, and in our celebrating this month, it carries pain and promise, hope and healing,” said Dr. Paul Nyquist, president of Moody Bible Institute. “We are called to reach across the globe, cultures, and generations to equip men and women in the truth of God’s Word, so Black History Month is vitally important to us at Moody. It gives us the opportunity to reflect on the rich diversity of the world to which we are called, and to strive toward unity within the Church.”

Remembering Mary McLeod Bethune

Dr. Mary Cloutier, associate professor of Intercultural Studies
at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago


Staff, students and faculty were in attendance for Dr. Cloutier’s presentation.

On Feb. 15, Dr. Mary Cloutier, professor of Intercultural Studies at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, spoke to Moody students and employees on the life and legacy of Moody alumna Mary McLeod Bethune. Bethune’s story was included in Dr. Cloutier’s dissertation.

“Mary McLeod came to Moody Bible Institute in 1894 to complete a long and carefully planned training for overseas missions in Africa,” Dr. Cloutier said. She was 19 and studying at Moody when her application to a mission board was denied. “Confident in her calling and sense of God’s leading, Bethune was stunned to learn that she would not be appointed to serve in missions,” Dr. Cloutier added. “Was it because of her race?”

In her research, Dr. Cloutier discovered a letter Bethune wrote in response that suggests she had been denied because of her skin color. In part, Bethune wrote:

“I had not been aware of the fact that you had not been sending out colored missionaries to Africa, or I would not have attempted to be an exception to your rule. It seems to me that if the Lord Jesus Christ were here on earth in person and wanted someone to go on an errand for him, He would not discuss the covering he has placed upon the bodies of his blood-bought people to protect the flesh he has made.”

Bethune went on to be a successful educator and stateswoman who founded a private school for African American females in Florida.

Mary McLeod Bethune

Celebrating Diversity

Moody’s celebration also included an art exhibit, Legacy of Heart and Soul Art Exhibition, in honor of Mary McLeod Bethune. Also, the student group, Embrace, sponsored a poetry slam, featuring students’ poems and spoken word pieces. And Mack White, who ministers with Missions Door, shared his struggle with racism and how the church has the opportunity and responsibility to address it.

From Feb. 13 to 24, Crowell Library posted a recommended reading list of such titles as Heroes in Black History, United, The New Jim Crow, and Birmingham Revolution.

The month culminated with Soul Celebration on Feb. 24, which featured recording artist, Britney Delagraetniss, Moody’s Gospel Choir, African American-themed desserts and a poetry reading. Moody Publishers provided books as prizes for a Black History Month contest.

Moody’s Gospel Choir performed for those in attendance.

Throughout the month of February, Moody Radio aired Treasured Moments in Black History, featuring Christ followers who shaped American History and made a difference for God’s kingdom. To listen to the series, visit the web page.

“Getting to know each other is why Black History Month is so important,” said Roy Patterson, special assistant to the president for community relations at Moody. “It’s a bridge, and a way to grow and appreciate the beauty of diversity.”


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Moody Bible Institute
820 N. LaSalle Blvd. Chicago, IL 60610 
(800) DL-MOODY


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