Southern Baptists elect 1st black president - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Southern Baptists elect 1st black president

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NEW ORLEANS - LA -

The nation's largest protestant denomination took its biggest step yet toward resolving its troubled racial past.

Tuesday afternoon Rev. Fred Luter was elected the first African-American president of the Southern Baptist Convention.  He takes the mantle in his home city of New Orleans during the annual meeting, now underway.

Seventeen years ago, Luter was one of the authors of a resolution that apologized to African-Americans for perpetuating racism and resolved to strive for racial reconciliation. Since that gesture, the denomination has grown its non-white congregations from 5% percent in 1990 to 20%in 2010.