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Celebrating Black History Month


Moody celebrates the legacies of some of America’s most beloved African American heroes

During the month of February, Moody staff, faculty and students focused on love, art and the legacies of notable African Americans in our nation’s history, including alumni of Moody Bible Institute.

“February is a special month at Moody as we celebrate Black History Month,” said Greg Thornton, interim president of Moody and senior vice president of media. “I appreciate the hard work that went into all the activities, and even more so, what was shared and presented. It was deeply meaningful and challenged us to remember and celebrate the wonderful work and accomplishments of these brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.”

Dr. Mary Cloutier, professor of Intercultural Studies at Moody Bible Institute, spoke on Feb. 14, to staff, students and faculty about Joseph Phipps (class of 1894), Ruth Occomy (class of 1916), and Adolphus Rochester (class of 1919). Each alum served on the mission field in Africa and were Moody Bible Institute’s first students of color who served in foreign missions. Dr. Cloutier shared their life stories, which she captured in the biography she had written on each of them.

Dr. Mary Cloutier, professor of Intercultural Studies 

“I appreciate having the opportunity to talk about Moody alumni of African descent who contributed to God’s mission in history,” said Dr. Cloutier. “I hope those in attendance left knowing God has always included a variety of His people in His missions work, and that it’s up to us to uncover the history and share these people’s stories.” 

On Feb. 21, Dr. Cloutier also spoke in the undergraduate chapel about Moody alumna Mary McLeod Bethune, an educator, civil rights activist, and political advisor to multiple US presidents. Bethune became one of the most prominent African Americans of early twentieth-century America and founded a school for African American students in 1904. Dr. Cloutier spoke specifically on Bethune’s childhood, education, and time at Moody.

Eric Redmond, assistant professor of Bible

Eric Redmond, assistant professor of Bible, presented an article he recently co-authored for a theological publication, suggesting ways to better equip the church in handling race relations. He read sections from his article and invited discussion from the audience. Ernest Gray, assistant professor of Bible, presented about the life and work of Henry Ossawa Tanner, a distinguished artist of the nineteenth century and the first African American artist to achieve international acclaim.

Ernest Gray, assistant professor of Bible

Moody students also held a poetry slam sharing their thoughts and artistic abilities on the topic of black history. Following spring break this month, the student group Embrace will be hosting “A Remembrance of Beauty”, an event to address colorism, the discrimination of people in one’s own ethnic group based on skin color tone. The event is being planned by Moody senior Pre-Counseling and Human Services major, ReNay McKelvy.  


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