Rochon speaks at Butler Chapel AME Zion Church anniversary, birthplace of school
TUSKEGEE, Ala. (September 20, 2011) — On Sunday, Sept. 18, Tuskegee University President Gilbert L. Rochon spoke to the congregation of historic Butler Chapel AME Zion Church. The church, which was the first site of Tuskegee Normal School (now Tuskegee University), was celebrating its 146th anniversary.
“The common bonds of kinship between Butler Chapel and Tuskegee University are exceedingly strong, in that the second superintendant of Butler Chapel’s Sunday School was the very same Lewis Adams, who later secured the initial $2,000 from the Alabama Legislature, which ultimately led to the hiring of Booker T. Washington,” Rochon said. “Ironically, the AME Zion Church and Tuskegee University are once again engaged in an identical historic mission: the building of opportunities for black youth to excel toward a future of hope, enlightenment, inspiration, security, responsibility and fulfillment of their highest aspirations and dreams for the future.”
Rochon talked about a 2010 Washington Post report on the African Methodist Episcopal Zion, African Methodist Episcopal and Christian Methodist Episcopal churches’ formulation of a collective plan to “stem the tide of unemployment, incarceration, high school dropout rates, substance abuse and other problems that are destroying the lives of young African-American males.”
“Tuskegee University is ready to partner with Butler Chapel AME Zion and others in addressing this crisis,” Rochon said.
Rochon outlined the university’s mission and commitment to its surrounding community and the nation. Continuing plans include increasing the number of Alabama students who are admitted to Tuskegee; expanding current research in prostate cancer; establishing closer relationships with middle and high schools; and seeking funding to address poverty, unemployment and drug addiction.
“Together, we can make a difference,” Rochon said. “Together, with the help of God, we will make a difference.”