Name: Rev. Dr. Donald Morton
Profession: Executive Pastor of Tabernacle Full Gospel Baptist Cathedral and Executive Director of the Complexities of Color Coalition, Civil Rights Leader and Racial Justice Advocate
One word that describes you: Innovative
Few are called to lead but, in Rev. Dr. Donald Morton’ s case, it was already ordained. At an early age the Executive Pastor of Tabernacle Full Gospel Baptist Cathedral and Executive Director of the Complexities of Color Coalition, Civil Rights Leader and Racial Justice Advocate exhibited signs as a promising and fierce man of the cloth.”I recognized my calling at 12 years old. I had the passion for making invisible people known and visible and empty people fulfilled. Its my hearts joy. I knew then that this was what I was destined to do. Yet I took my time because I didn’t want to do it. It called me, I didn’t call it. I wanted to make sure that it was MY calling and not what someone expected of me because its what my mother does. In hindsight, I have seen every situation in my life craft and shape me to be the leader I am today and the one I hope to be tomorrow,” he tells BE Modern Man.
Heavily influenced by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who taught from a grassroots and social activism perspective, Morton saw these principles in his own home. “My mother (Bishop Aretha Morton) has been fighting for the vulnerable population in America for over five decades. My theology and philosophy informs my decision to stand with the marginalized. That’s the true message of Jesus. I want to see the world a better place when I leave than when I arrived. I want to make a difference.”
Armed with the core principles of social equality and service, Morton knows that penetrating the hearts and ideologies of peers are just as important as those outside of the clergy. “Leadership is based on relationship. I’m not a transactional leader; I hope people would agree I’m a transformative leader. I work by building relationships and empowering movements to be successful from the grassroots level. Also I hold, as a core value, the importance of remaining relevant and innovative. We have to find ways of doing the work of social justice in innovative and creative ways. I stay in my lane. I cannot do everything but there are things I do well. I try to do the things that I am strong at and delegate the things that require a different skill set. Finally, allow the people that do the work to shine. They deserve credit for the tireless efforts the put in. It is shameful and without integrity to take credit for the work someone else did. I look for ways to develop the next generation of leaders. If there is a critique I had of The Martin King Jr. era it was his failure to create leaders to take the movement once he was gone.”
As a true change agent, Morton has spent tireless time and effort ensuring our authentic images are displayed and aiding to alert a fractured community of its worth. “I have spent my career that spans over 20 years talking about the fact that we are not a monolithic people. We are diverse in age, phenotype, cultural awareness and understanding. I think we have to learn to function and be okay with the counterintuitive nature of oneself. I think there should be a purposeful and intentional action to be oneself. I think authenticity is missing. We usually function within a respectability politic that doesn’t allow authenticity. I think the universal church has been silent about its own hypocrisy. The Black Church emerges out of protest, yet does very little in this time and space to do the same. It has, in the words of Dr. Jamal Harrison Bryant, developed laryngitis,” he tells BE Modern Man.
Being named a BE Modern Man means a fraternal order bounded by a common thread, and in this case, the plight of the black man’s future. “I’m incredibly humbled and honored that I was chosen. I have to admit, though, I don’t do this work for any personal glory or satisfaction. I do it because voiceless people have been voiceless for far too long and someone has to spend their lives empowering the marginalized. Our children have been forgotten and I have the ability to do something about it,” he tells BE Modern Man.
The BE Modern Man team salutes Rev. Dr. Donald Morton in his efforts to combat and continue Dr. King’s plight of social justice especially for men and women of color. We are excited to know that we have a BE Modern Man in Morton, who is leading the charge for exclusivity at every socio-economic, political and religious level.
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