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Collection 548 Records of the Atlanta '88 Congress on Evangelizing Black America

Identifier: CN 548

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, reports, minutes, promotional materials, audio and videotapes, participant lists, schedules, financial records, evaluations, clippings of media coverage, etc., documenting the 1988 event. The records document not only the planning for the Congress and actual proceedings, but also the network of Black Christian leaders working together to address the spiritual and social needs of their churches and communities, and the role of the Black church in evangelism and missions. Matthew Parker is a key figure in convening the meeting and many of the paper documents are either generated by or written to him; however, numerous other Black Evangelical leaders are correspondents and active participants in the meeting. The audio tapes record the large group and workshop sessions for the Congress, while the video footage records only the large group sessions.


  • Created: 1986-1989

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Historical Information

Meeting on evangelism for Black Christians; held in Atlanta, August 1988; attended by approximately one thousand participants; intended to give practical training and experience in evangelism, as well as stimulate enthusiasm.

Dates: August 16-20, 1988

Location: Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel, Atlanta, Georgia

Participants: Approximately one thousand (1,000)

Chairman: Matthew Parker

Goals: "1) Increase knowledge of the scriptures. 2) Offer how-to methods for effectively communicating the Gospel to others. 3) Encourage support and sharing of resources with other Christians. 4) Challenge the Black churches in different denominations about the responsibility of the world evangelization."

Origin: Atlanta '88 resulted from the exclusion of the African American community from the focus of Houston '85, a consultation on evangelizing ethnic America. During Houston '85, Black Christian leaders formed a task force to convene a conference on evangelizing the African American community, which three years later sponsored Atlanta '88. The members of the task force were: Glandion Carney, Alfonso Tyler, Donald Donaldson, Matthew Parker, C.C. Pratt, Bob Harrison, Hank Allen, Charles Johnson, J.D. Ellis, Lindsey Robinson.


1.20 Cubic Feet (3 Boxes (DC), Audio Tapes, Photographs, Videotapes )

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Material

This collection documents the planning and proceedings of the Atlanta '88 Congress on Evangelizing Black America. Matthew Parker of the Institute for Black Family Development (a product of the 1984 National Summit on Black Church Development), was a key figure in the Congress planning. The records of the meeting reveal the network of Black Christian leaders, and document their thinking and planning together to address the role of the Black church in evangelism. A great value of the collection is that it not only documents the planning for the Congress but also the proceedings as Black church and ministry leaders confer and learn together as they analyze their history and current situation and plan for the future. The arrangement of the collection has remained as it was received. Duplicates were returned to the donor.

Audio and videotapes comprise a major part of the collection. Audio recordings (see Location Record: Audio Tapes) provide a comprehensive record of the plenary sessions and small group workshops at Atlanta '88, while the video footage covers the 1986 Summit plenary sessions (see Location Record: Videotape).

Series: Atlanta '88 Congress on Evangelizing Black America

Arrangement: Alphabetical

Date range: 1986-1989

Volume: 1.2 cubic feet (50 folders), 36 audio tapes, 12 videotapes,

Boxes: 1-3

Type of documents: Correspondence, memos, reports, conference participant list and schedule, minutes, financial records, clippings about the event both prior to and following the Congress, and evaluations, audio tapes and videotapes

Correspondents: Matthew Parker and Black Evangelical leaders

Notes: The series contains the various documents which record the planning, promotion, and convening of the Congress in mid-1988, including lists of participants and area coordinators (folder 1-4), negotiations for audio-visual recording of the event sessions (folder 1-5), promotional material (folders 1-10,11), correspondence (folders 1-14,15), inquiries about arrangements, registration, requests for grant funding (folder 3-11 and 12), exhibits (folder 2-1), press releases and media coverage (folder 2-8), minutes from the local committee (folder 2-10), a steering committee notebook which includes meeting minutes, an organizational chart (folder 3-12), Congress Connection, the Congress "official daily communication" (folder 2-15), program development and sample packet (folders 2-17 and 3-1,2). Several of the files contain samples from other events or processes which appear to have been used as models than containing information directly about Atlanta '88 (PR in folder 3-5 and Registration in folder 3-7). Most of the financial data appears in raw form in folders 1-1, 2, 6 and 1-12, with the exception of a financial statement on the last page of Matthew Parker's summary report (folder 3-13). Audio and video recordings document the actual content of the Congress (see Location Record: Audio Tapes, Video Tapes).

Exceptional items: The summary report in folder 3-12 consolidates information about the Congress, describing its genesis, listing task force members, and reviewing objectives, ethnic and institutional representation (not statistics), impact and planned actions, analysis of some of the responses to evaluation questions, and a financial statement.

Folder 2-7 (labeled Masters) consists of originals of documents which were then duplicated. Some of these documents turned up in other files, while others did not (such as the minutes for the Congress's Steering Committee meeting in March 1988), making this a valuable rather than repetitive resource.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by the Institute for Black Family Development in April 1989.

Accession: 89-32

August 25, 1997

Paul A. Ericksen

M. Bergstedt

Separated Materials

The following items have been given to the Evangelism & Mission Collection, Buswell Library:

Accession: 89-32

Waite, Montrose, edited by Eugene Seals and John McNeal, Jr. Waite: A Man Who Could Not Wait. (Detroit: Parker Books, Inc., 1988)

Collection 548 Records of the Atlanta '88 Congress on Evangelizing Black America
Paul Ericksen
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

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