Shades of Black Atheism #15: Raised in Affluence, Traci-Lynne Harden

Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Traci-Lynne Harden grew up in the affluent black community of Cascade Heights in southwest Atlanta. Her parents and family were educators and business owners. As a baby, Traci-Lynne was baptized in the Roman Catholic Church and attended a Catholic school until she was in eighth grade at which point her parents allowed her to attend a magnet high school.

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Shades of Black Atheism #14: CEO of Affinis Apparel, Robert Peoples

Robert Peoples is the CEO of Affinis Apparel (pronounced uh-FIN-is) — a clothing company promoting human rights and freethinking through urban indie fashion. Undoubtedly, Robert has been an atheist for more than half of his life, an aspect he concealed from family and friends until recent years. His childhood rearing was geared toward a Christian (specifically Baptist) upbringing in central New Jersey. Although Robert’s mother was involved in the church, her perspective was not a fundamentalist position. Like his mother, Robert believed during his adolescent years that Jesus Christ was his Lord and personal savior and did not condemn others for possessing alternative views about “God.” Robert remembers saying as an adolescent: “I know what the preacher says about homosexuality [and other worldviews], but some of my closest friends are lesbian, gay, Muslim, and atheist, and guess what? They are human beings with love just like me.”

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Shades of Black Atheism #13: Abused and Ignored by God, Tierra Hammond

Tierra Hammond is a 23-year-old Californian. She describes her mother as “religious” but not “overly so.” She was a seasonal Christian, attending church on Easter and Christmas, but didn’t mind going there… until she was seven and her mother entered the army leaving Tierra with her very devout aunt.

If she deemed a cartoon unacceptable, my younger sister & I were not allowed to watch it. She didn’t let us listen to the radio, unless it was gospel, & had a heart attack at any mention of sex. I went to church 3 times a week until I was 9. Around that time, I began to read the Bible. This was the beginning of my non-belief.

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Shades of Black Atheism #12: Jack-of-All-Trades, Alix Jules

Alix Jules… where do I even begin? First, let me explain the big blocks of quoted text you’re about to read. Summarizing much of what he said would have been a huge disservice to this article. I didn’t want to leave anything out and distort his message. I’ll start with what he’s doing today and work my way back.

Alix is the President of the Black Nonbelievers of Dallas. He’s the Coordinator and Chair for the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason as well as the Chair for their Diversity Council. (No, not done yet!) He’s the Executive Director for the Fellowship of Freethought–Dallas. And, just to round all of this out, he sits on the speakers bureau for African Americans for Humanism.

Impressive, right?

The best part of getting these details is that Alix felt “uncomfortable with titles.” He’s just humbly doing what he can to help. I’m not the only one who is impressed with Alix, either; he was even featured in Ebony magazine:

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Shades of Black Atheism #11: Ex-Jehovah’s Witness, Ex-Pentecostal Bridgett Crutchfield

Although she’s the founder of Minority Atheists of Michigan Bria Crutchfield said, “I haven’t always been an Atheist, unfortunately. I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, baptized at 17.” Angry at being forced to be raised in a high control group, she walked away at 18 and was disfellowshipped at 20. For those of you not familiar with Jehovah’s Witnesses and disfellowshipping, it’s an extreme form of shunning where your entire congregation is notified and it is understood that no one is supposed to talk to you thereafter. Having been raised one myself, I know it’s a very difficult thing to go through. Bria said she “later segued to Pentecostalism” in her 30s. She was very active and was “an intercessory prayer warrior, Evangelist & Prophetess.” [Read more...]


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