For Release: June 18, 2003
Contact: David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x106
Black Network Praises Majority Leader Frist
for Appointing First Black Senate Chaplain
Members of the African-American leadership network Project 21 applaud Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist for his selection of Rear Admiral Barry Black to be the new chaplain of the U.S. Senate. Black, a Seventh Day Adventist who is currently the Chief Chaplain of the U.S. Navy, will be the first African-American to hold the job of pastoral counselor to the Senate.
In making the announcement of Black's selection, Majority Leader Frist said: "Admiral Black has provided spiritual guidance to thousands of servicemen and women during his 25 years of service. We're honored he has offered to bring his moral leadership and counsel to the United States Senate."
Black is also the first military chaplain to be appointed Senate chaplain. He has earned masters degrees in arts, divinity and counseling and has doctorates in ministry and philosophy. He received the NAACP's Roy Wilkins Renowned Service Award in 1995. During his military career, he has ministered to members of the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard and their families at the U.S. Naval Academy, in the first Gulf war and in Japan as well as in several stateside postings.
Majority Leader Frist selected Admiral Black from three nominees offered by a bipartisan group of senators. The full Senate must still approve Black's appointment. Upon approval, Black will provide pastoral counseling and other spiritual services to the over 6,000 members, staff and families of the U.S. Senate.
"The selection of Admiral Black shows once again that the conservative majority in the Senate is at the forefront of inclusion while their liberal critics often just 'talk the talk,'" said Project 21 member Kevin Martin. Martin is a Navy veteran and also hails from Admiral Black's hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. Martin adds, "Bill First is not only the leader in the Senate, but an all-around leader when it comes to bringing diverse groups to the table on Capitol Hill."
Project 21 has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x106 or Project21@nationalcenter.org, or visit Project 21's website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.
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