Published on February 2, 2016 by Kristen Padilla  
race relations

Birmingham Mayor William A. Bell, Bishop Robert J. Baker of the Catholic Diocese of Birmingham and Dean Timothy George of Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School are hosting a racial reconciliation conference titled “Black and White in America: How Deep the Divide?” March 3–4 at Samford.

“In the wake of recent racial turmoil in our country, and having experienced much anguish over racial issues in our city of Birmingham, we want to offer a possible pathway to dialogue and harmony for the future,” said conference chairs Bell, Baker and George. “A reflection/conversation on race relations in the United States among its African-American and white citizens is our humble effort to foster light and hope where darkness and despair may prevail.”

The conference will feature talks by Bell and Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. of Charleston, South Carolina; Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange; Most Rev. Edward K. Braxton, Catholic bishop of Belleville, Illinois; Professor Emeritus Wayne Flynt of Auburn University; Rev. Dr. Carolyn Maull McKinstry, Birmingham author of While the World Watched; and Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, Catholic archbishop of Owerri, Nigeria.

The conference also will include two panels. The first panel will feature civil and political leaders, and will be moderated by S. Jonathan Bass, Samford professor and university historian. The second panel will be moderated by Fisher Humphreys, professor emeritus of Beeson Divinity School, and will include religious leaders from Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths. The conference will conclude with a midday prayer service led by George.

Conference chairs Bell, Baker and George said they hope that the conference, which will be held during the season of Lent, will bring about a time of repentance, conversation, reconciliation and hope for the future.

“Please join with us. Reflect with us. And, pray with us for this important event,” they said.

Find more information and register by Feb. 15 at www.birminghamblackandwhite.com. Seating is limited.

Kristen Padilla is marketing and communications coordinator for Beeson Divinity School.

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About Samford University – Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 4th among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,619 students from 44 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.