Southern Baptists to Elect Black Leader

A denomination that was once a haven for white racists is setting a new tone: the Southern Baptist Convention is set to elect as its president Fred Luter Jr., a black minister who grew up in New Orleans’s Lower Ninth Ward and lost his home in Hurricane Katrina. Luter preached on street corners before eventually growing an inner-city church into a large Southern Baptist congregation. In 1995 he electrified attendees by preaching at a pastors’ conference. Luter became a nationally recognized preacher, eventually being honored with the nomination for SBC president.