(Photo Credit: WSB TV)
A champion for racial, social and economic justice and product of Morehouse College, Reverend Markel Hutchins serves as a shining progressive example of how postmodern Black preachers should be passionately active in their communities. Hutchins has not been derelict in his duty to engage in civil and human rights efforts, efforts like those Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X championed. Even when he was in high school, one could see a burgeoning fighter for justice in the making: He led a march against the proliferation of drugs in the neighborhood surrounding his school. Mr. Hutchins went on to become an ordained Baptist minister, leading Markel Hutchins Ministries. Although there are laws prohibiting clergymen from being politically engaged in the confines of places of worship, this does not mean they cannot be involved in issues pertaining to social and economic policy affecting their communities, especially outside of their places of worship. Hutchins certainly understands this.
Reverend Hutchins has an acute awareness of the power and significance of Black preachers’ serious involvement in political, social and economic issues during the Civil Rights Movement. Black preachers during that period understood how to minister to the comprehensive needs of their congregants. Yes, it’s one thing to feed one’s members spiritual food; another to feed their social, economic, professional and personal development. Mr. Hutchins has been highly attentive to the complete needs of those he leads. By doing this, he helps to further the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Although his leadership and ministry emerged in Atlanta, Georgia, a pivotal site during the Civil Rights Movement, his visionary leadership calls him to fight for justice throughout America.
When Black preachers invest in the communities in which they are situated, those communities become better places to live, work and play. Unfortunately, too many Black preachers are too concerned about their personal and church’s financial prosperity to involve themselves in essential community development. Numerous pusillanimous Black preachers hide behind their collars and robes instead of tackling challenging and critical issues in their communities, including homelessness, police brutality, unfair labor practices, criminal justice system abuses, and racism, as Reverend Hutchins has done and continues to do.
Ministries not advocating for their communities are purposeless.
Markel Hutchins Ministries has purpose, vision and results.
While we increasingly see, hear and read accounts of preachers involved in corruption, and it’s easy not to support any preacher—which is a product of a burgeoning nihilistic impulse in postmodernism—it’s important to pay tribute to those preachers who are making a remarkable difference in the lives of people and their communities. This is why we have to give Reverend Markel Hutchins his flowers while he’s living. Although you may not always agree with his methods and viewpoints, it’s clear this man loves his country deeply enough to hold it accountable to fulfilling its nonpareil ideals—expressed most vividly and eloquently in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. We should demand an America as good as it’s promised, and Hutchins is tireless warrior working to see those utopian founding ideals materialize.
When an individual thinks critically and comprehensively about the work Reverend Markel Hutchins has done and is doing, it becomes transparent why former Atlanta Mayor, Shirley Franklin, the first female mayor of Atlanta and first Black woman of a prominent Southern city, posits that he “will soon be celebrated as one of our nation’s most visible and viable public servants.”
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison