The newly elected first Black borough president of Brooklyn, Eric Adams, was honored at a lavish banquet given by the William Moss Brotherhood Ministry of the Historic Concord Baptist Church of Christ on Friday, Feb. 28 in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Brooklyn is New York City’s most populous borough with 2.5 million residents, of which almost 1 million are African-Americans. Due in part to the 1930s migration of Southern Blacks, the borough has the distinction of having the largest Black population of residents. The Black population goes back to the 1840s in the village of Weeksville, named after a Black man, James Weeks.
In this tradition, on Nov. 5, 2013, Adams entered the annals of history by becoming the first African-American borough president in Brooklyn. Adams is a native Brooklynite, and he exhibits a passion for the borough in which he was born and raised. He said that during his “years of fortitude, as a police officer patrolling the streets in the community, the church was an anchor, providing a safe haven.”
For 22 years, Adams served the city as a member of the NYPD and co-founded the organization 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement. He retired as captain, ran for political office and was elected as state senator for the 20th District in November 2006.
It was in this historical context that the Brotherhood Ministry, a group of active, God-fearing, community-conscious Black men, whose president is Deacon Clarence J. Evans, M.D., and which operates under the esteemed leadership of Concord’s senior pastor, the Rev. Dr. Gary V. Simpson, honored the first Black borough president.
At Concord, the mission is to create a community of friends, witnessing for Christ by embracing all segments of the community and its leaders, especially those in a position to influence the masses. Adams’ observers say that as borough president, Adams must execute each role with fairness and justice for all and represent the borough’s interest within the city, state and federal governments. He must monitor the delivery of city services.
Adams said his is a new energy and a new spirit. He highlighted the distinction by saying, “I bring my own pair of shoes, and I want to do a good job for all Brooklynites. We must be a part of success for all.
“I have created a ‘street team.’ My staff was instructed to get out into the street and get away from titles. It is a different kind of leadership. We must trade internationally and invite children to see how people live on a global level. We can be philanthropic by doing simple things every day.”
In conclusion, he reminded the guests, “I am here to serve and not to be served. I am your humble servant.”
In attendance were prominent members of the community, organizations with a history of service, like 500 Men Making a Difference, and church leaders such as Pastor Johnny Youngblood of Mt. Pisgah Church. Other honorees included Deacon Allan S. Matthew of First Baptist Church of Crown Heights; psalmist Sonya D. Johnson, Esq.; usher Gertrude Hardwick and Deacon George Combest of the Concord Baptist Church; the Rev. Dan. J. Craig Jr. of Mt. Sion Baptist; and Church Concord youths Jonathan Wheeler and Ahmin Thornhill.
Concord Baptist Church, established in 1847, is one of the oldest Black churches in the U.S. It has welcomed and supported civil rights and world leaders ranging from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to late South African President Nelson Mandela. Thus, it only seems natural for Concord to seize this historical moment and recognize Brooklyn’s first Black borough president, thereby including him in the circle of a “community of friends.”