WASHINGTON, D.C—HBCU Buzz’s Chief Content Officer, Rev. Robert K Hoggard spoke at the city of Olean’s first African-American Heritage Celebration. During the weekend celebration, on the third weekend of February, he led a conversation on the film Selma entitled: “Selma: The Triumph Story of African-Americans.” In the conversation, he said, “It’s time for the church to relentlessly fight for change like the 16th Street Baptist Church did during the Civil Rights Movement. If we sit and watch protests without engaging in them the church will continue to die and work towards being an elite social club.”
At an event where the attendees were predominately White and in a city that has less than 5% African-Americans, Rev. Hoggard, discussed how Whites were instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement. He mentioned in particular Rev. James Reeb and Viola Liuzzo who were violently killed during the Selma protests. He mentioned that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said at Rev. Reeb’s funeral, “Rev. James Reeb symbolizes the forces of goodwill in our nation. He demonstrated the conscience of the nation. He was an attorney for the defense of the innocent in the court of world opinion. He was a witness to the truth that men of different races and classes might live, eat and work together as brothers (and sisters).”
Rev. Hoggard mentioned, “The church’s call is to seek charity and justice. Charity suggests that we support the movement financially and justice means that we actively get involved with movements that are creating a better future for tomorrow.”
Lastly, Rev. Hoggard was the first African-American to speak at Bethany Lutheran Church in Olean, New York in it’s 120 year history.