That Peculiar Relationship: Descendants of Slaves and Their Holders

October 16th, 2020

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Elder King Hezekiah HarrisGeneral Evangelist, United Methodist ChurchHost: Kay Palmer Marsh

About The Presentation

The relationship we have between former slaves and former slave holders is one that has many twist and turns. The relationship people of African decent has had to the constitution of the United States has always been strand. The notion that a African is a piece of property is ludicrous enough; add to that, a child that you sired as a European with a African is a piece of property is mine blowing.

Rev. Harris will link his experience as a black man familiar with prejudice in Colorado with his work in private industry and his decision to accept his calling and serve in the United Methodist Church.

About the Presenter

Elder King Hezekiah Harris: A long-time Denver businessman, King Harris began his career in business and finance as a commercial banker for one of the largest banks in the Denver area.  He later established his own companies specializing in retail, construction, and construction management, with emphasis on large public sector projects including key roles at Denver International Airport and Coors Field. His companies have employed hundreds of individuals. He has been personally involved in every phase of management and operations, from bidding and contract administration to project supervision and development of industry practices and standards.  He has assisted owners with development and construction financing, project planning, architectural and engineering conceptualization, scheduling, cost control, and coordination of trades.

He presently serves as President of Park Creek Metropolitan District, a political sub-divisions, responsible for the redevelopment of the former Stapleton Airport in Denver, Colorado. He serve as the Executive Director of Epworth Housing Foundation, Executive Director of Epworth Foundation He has served on the board of the; Westerly Creek Metropolitan District, Volunteers of America, as a commissioner of the Colorado State Highway Department. 

In 1999 Mr. Harris “retired” from an active role in his companies in order to pursue degrees in divinity (awarded in 2004) and theology  He was senior pastor of Epworth United Methodist Church and Executive Director of the Epworth Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping strengthen inner-city families and youth.  As Pastor of Epworth United Methodist Church, he founded The Epworth Foundation in 2005 to further the church’s humanitarian goals.  The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) that provides various charitable services as part of its mission to promote and support healthy families, with an emphasis on children.  The Foundation sponsors multiple programs and services to benefit individuals and the community, serving nearly 10,000 families each year, with programs focusing on:
Youth

  • Talent Camp, an arts-based program serving more than 300 students who are exposed to art, music, and mentors from the community
  • Foster Youth programs, teaching independent living skills
  • Drill and Step Teams, teaching discipline and teamwork
  • Work Programs, teaching youth job skills, work ethic, and professionalism

Family

  • Emergency assistance for families in crisis
  • Fatherhood / Motherhood parenting classes and peer support groups
  • Employment – Resumes, computer training, employment-related services
  • Low-income housing, with 70 units serving elderly and disabled  

Hunger 

  • The Denver Feed-a-Family program, held each Thanksgiving to honor the legacy of “Daddy Bruce Randolph.” 
  • Food bank, serving more than 175 families each month

Health

  • Sponsor of 9 Health Fair
  • AIDS/HIV awareness and education programs

Housing

Long been involved in issues affecting housing. He helped to revitalize Curtis Park and City Park West neighborhoods through renovation of dilapidated housing.

  • Presently sponsoring 7 special needs houses 
  • 3 for foster children in Colorado 
  • 4 for developmentally disable people in Michigan 
  • 56 senior units
  • 16 family units

Programs that are not yet completed 

  • 110 unites of mix use housing  
  • 200 unites of high-end condominium

Currently: Working with a church in Fort Worth Texas to determine the best use of their facilities and 6 acres of grounds. He is a member of Together Colorado; a group dedicated to the reform of the relationship between African American and Hispanic with the police. Also prison reform and the justice system. 

“I am a general Evangelist which means I am to be welcome into that pulpit of any United Methodist Church in the world. It is my responsibility to bring hard truths to people. Both those that call themselves Christian and those that do not know the God that I serve. It is my charge to make clear the meaning of Matthew 25 in today’s world. Further it is my charge to speak the love of God to all people, knowing that I have neither a heaven or hell to reserve for anyone. Therefore I should do my job and let the Godhead do its job. If I can say a word that causes someone to take a road that will lead them toward the kingdom; than my living will not be in vain. I want to be known as a child of the most high God and be seen as one that acts like my brother Jesus and looks like my father. If ever I go on trial for being a follower of Jesus I pray that there will be sufficient evidence to convict me.”

Additional Resources

 

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