African Americans for Humanism Reboots with a Huge Ad Campaign

Hats off to Debbie Goddard at the Center For Inquiry for rebooting African Americans for Humanism — just in time for Black History Month — with a new, welcoming website and an introductory video that just makes you want to hear more from the people speaking:

The press release (PDF) explains the need for the campaign:

African Americans may be the most religious minority in the United States, but many feel that the churches don’t speak for them. AAH hopes that the campaign will bring attention to the presence of and increase in religious skepticism within the black community, encourage those who have doubts about religion to share their concerns and join other freethinkers in their local communities, and educate many about the history of black freethought.

“African Americans who question religion often feel rejected by religious family and friends, and by the greater black community,” said Debbie Goddard, director of AAH. “But there is a rich heritage of religious skepticism and humanism in black history. By featuring the historical faces as well as the modern in our ad campaign, we show people that questioning religion is not new and that there are many of us here.”

How often have we talked about the special need for outreach to minorities so that they feel welcome in our movement? This is a wonderful step toward fulfilling that promise. In the process, it may even help educate people about the abundant secularism possessed by the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance.

There will also be billboards and bus ads promoting “religious skepticism in the African American community” across the country beginning this week. Check out the ads below:

In Atlanta, Georgia:

In Chicago, Illinois:

In Dallas, Texas:

In Washington, D.C.:

In Durham, North Carolina:

In Los Angeles, California:

In New York City, New York:

AAH owes a debt of gratitude to the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, which provided “substantial creative and financial support for the campaign.”

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Anonymous

    Awesome. I especially like the billboards with AA heroes of history and modern day freethinkers. The fact that freethought in the AA community is not some freakish departure but can draw from a rich history within the community cannot be emphasized enough.

  • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine

    At first I was confused  – but then I understood it was a modern humanist alongside a historical humanist. It’s a great ad campaign, but a 6.00 AM-addled brain doesn’t quickly get it XD

  • Stephen Burrows

    This is just awesome!  I love these ads.  Have always been a fan of Langston Hughes and seeing him in the ads is…pleasurable, motivating, and just plain great!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=705066677 Desiree Bell-Fowlks

    It’s very hard to live in the AA community as an atheist and freethinker.  The community is heavily religious and prayers are done at almost every event.  I do not know of another AA atheist in my immediate community.  These ad campaigns make me feel less alone. 

    • http://www.twitter.com/a_okafor007 Anthony C. Okafor

      PREACH MY SISTA! :)

    • chicago dyke, evolved outlaw

      right there with you, Sistah. i am so upset about how the community has seemingly gotten more religious over the course of my lifetime. my grandparents were religious, and today they’d be considered “nearly godless atheists” because they didn’t like public preachin and shoutin but instead preferred the traditional kind. 

      the sick, sad irony is that one result of all this increase in religiosity in our community has led to… wait for it… churches that made their names in the Civil Rights era leading the charge, against civil rights for gays. how that angers me. 

  • Gus Snarp

    These are perfect. I have no criticism of the message, or even the designs. Best atheist billboards ever.

  • Frank Rapp

    The ad campaign is wonderful. And I doubt that you meant anything negative when you wrote “How often have we talked about the special need for outreach to minorities so that they feel welcome in our movement?” But saying “our movement” could be taken as though those whose demographics are in the majority actually “own” the movement. May I suggest “the movement” as it implies inclusion of everyone automatically, not by acceptance of others?  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003293001320 Diana Winters

    After watching the video, I found myself……smiling. I probably looked more like an idiot than usual.

  • Alex

    Atlanta, GA? Yay! Georgia sure can use moar atheism.


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