Interview with Ben Chavis
QUESTION 35
JUDY RICHARDSON:

Give me a sense of why you felt a need to join a Black nationalist church, and then how it evolved.

BEN CHAVIS:

OK. Although now I'm an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, ah, I was first ordained actually as a Black Christian Nationalist minister. And this was something that I decided to do, that I need to do. I needed to connect my faith with the Movement. And there wasn't one place to do it in the early 1970s, and that was the Black Christian Nationalist Movement headed by Albert Cleague. And because there was a place where we began to take down all of the White theology. We refused to, ah, see Jesus as some White man with blond hair and blue eyes. Ah, and to talk about a Black Christ. Ah, we began to see God, ah, having done something with Black people specially, and that we have a responsibility to struggle against all forms of evil and oppression. But out of the Black Christian Nationalist movement emerged the Black Christian Pan-Africanist Movement, which I later became a Pan-Africanist, because I wanted to have a more broader world view, ah, to connect the diaspora of African people. And again, one's ideology needs to be connected to one's theology. And that's why we eventually emerged to a Black Christian Pan-Africanist Movement.