Samuel E. Mann
November 13, 2000, Greencastle, Ind. - "As a white Methodist minister and advocate for human rights, Samuel E. Mann, pastor at St. Mark's Church in Kansas City, Missouri, has been active in the fight against racism for more than four decades -- despite his upbringing. "My family believed and embraced white supremacy," he told an audience at DePauw University tonight. "And in the town I lived in, white was right and black meant get back."
Rev. Mann presented the Timothy and Sharon Ubben Lecture, "Reframing the Dialogue on Racism: Addressing the Issues of White Supremacy and White Privilege," in Meharry Hall of East College.
Mann attended Birmingham-Southern College and then Duke University and became involved in the civil rights movement, even organizing protests as a college student. After graduating from Duke, Mann moved to Kansas City and became the only white man to live on 12th Street. He served as pastor of an all-black church.
"Since 1971 I have lived in the bosom of the black community," Rev. Mann told his DePauw audience. "This is where I have been nurtured, nourished and brought to life."
Mann believes race is the greatest issue America must face and resolve. "We need to take another look at integration, inclusiveness, diversity and multiculturalism," he says. "We need to look at our motives, because these often come out of guilt." The reverend added, "Until whites come to understand how deep the pain is, we won't settle this race issue."
Several years ago, Rev. Mann joined with 25 other white clergymen at a conference in Birmingham, Alabama, to discuss the role they could play in changing the dialogue in their congregations concerning racism. This core group of ministers has a mission to enlist 100 clergymen of different denominations to heighten awareness that inherent racial and social privilege of white Americans can cause barriers to understanding and acceptance among people.
Since 1971, Rev. Mann has served as a pastor in Kansas City, but he has marched for equal rights across the nation and around the world.
In recent years, Rev. Mann has collaborated with other ministers to develop a document, called Reframing the Dialogue on Racism, by which the ministers can share the message about racial issues with their congregations around the nation. Rev. Mann's hope is to begin a real and substantive dialogue on racial issues.
In a June 17, 2000 article in the Indianapolis Star, Mann stated, "Our culture is built on white privilege and is controlled by a white mindset. We experience white privilege in the (corporate) board rooms, the country clubs, the banks and other lending institutions and in the media. "He goes on to say that in dealing with diversity, more is required than just getting black and white people talking across a table. "That's not going to do it. We have to redo the table."