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Traditional black preaching is where ecstatic oratory, pulpit presence, anointed alliteration, dramatic repetition and Holy Ghost-filled hollas are still considered manna from heaven.
And amid this distinctive American art form, "Doc," who passed away Wednesday, will forever stand tall: A singularly unique pulpiteer, legendary wordsmith and a most gifted example of one of "God's Trombones," as African-American poet James Weldon Johnson dubbed black preachers.
And I'm not talking about what I've heard. I am a witness.
In my outside-the-newsroom life, preaching is big.
I am a second-generation preacher. I married a second-generation preacher, the Rev. John F. White II, who, when he was in seminary, used to cruise Atlanta listening to tapes of the Rev. Carter.
He had a ready arsenal of audio from the Rev. Carter: My husband's father, A.M.E. Bishop John F. White, pastored for many years the Mount Hermon African Methodist Church, located across a parking lot from New Mount Olive Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, where the Rev. Carter was pastor emeritus.
And though I cannot remember the first time I heard him for myself, I will never forget the Rev. Carter's incomparable command of traditional black preaching.
This Ocala-born, three-piece-suit-clad, old-school Christian gentleman could stand flat-footed, and without really breaking a sweat, preach the gathered congregation into a spiritual frenzy.
True to the art form, his language was vital, his stories were vivid, and whenever he wanted, this elder statesman of African-American preaching could raise his volume to that signature climatic crescendo known as "the whoop."
Source: Sun Sentinel | Maria Mallory White