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Congress Gets First African-American Chaplain
Aired July 7, 2003 - 19:27 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Today was a historic day for the United States Senate. For the first time, the Senate has an African- American chaplain. He's also the first military chaplain to hold the post and the first Seventh Day Adventist.
CNN's Kathleen Koch now has his story.
BARRY BLACK, CONGRESSIONAL CHAPLAIN: In the name of the one who fills our hearts with peace...
KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Simple words making history from Barry Black, Congress' first African-American chaplain.
Just three years ago, he became the Navy's first African-American chief of chaplains, called on to speak at times of national mourning.
BLACK: Weeping may endure for a night. But joy comes in the morning.
KOCH: From the USS Cole memorial to Pentagon 9/11 ceremonies.
BLACK: Help us never to forget our September 11 wakeup call.
KOCH: For 27 years, the military has been his life.
BLACK: This place is like having a family.
KOCH: Black has three masters degrees, two Ph.D.s, and nonetheless gets questions about whether Republicans trying to appear inclusive chose him because of his race.
BLACK: I think 27 years of professional military chaplaincy experience, going from a lieutenant JG to a two-star admiral, probably, those were some of the factors that they considered. So I don't think that race with a critical factor at all.
KOCH: Facing and overcoming challenges is something Black learned as a boy, growing up in this now abandoned Baltimore public housing project. His mother, a devout Seventh Day Adventist, raised him and his seven siblings.
Black is now married and has three sons of his own. A wall in his office is a photo gallery of great ministerial moments. BLACK: This is camp David. I preached there.
KOCH: Black officiated at JFK Jr.'s sea burial. Perhaps most cherished, the times he prepared U.S. forces for combat, even death.
BLACK: This one, the picture here aboard the bunker hill, you're able to pour out your heart to these young people and they are listening.
KOCH: A military man of God, taking on a new mission.
Kathleen Koch, CNN, Washington.
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