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Bishop Claude Alexander Is Charlotte Post Foundation Luminary
Nominated for service to community
Published Monday, June 15, 2020 12:43 pm
by Ellison Clary | For The Charlotte Post

Bishop Claude Alexander of The Park Church is The Charlotte Post Foundation's 2020 Luminary.

A man of the cloth who pastors while striving for justice and equity, Bishop Claude Alexander is the 2020 Luminary for The Charlotte Post Foundation.

During three decades in Charlotte, Alexander has led and participated in many social improvement initiatives while ministering to a congregation of thousands at The Park Church.

“The fragility of a city requires the muscularity of the church,” Alexander likes to say. That can be applied to the 2016 shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott by a Charlotte police officer, he said. “Cities are very fragile,” he contends. “The muscularity of the church is in its unity and collectiveness.”

Gerald Johnson, publisher of The Charlotte Post and president of The Charlotte Post Foundation, praised Alexander’s “oral eloquence” and positive use of influence. The Foundation will honor Alexander at a banquet on Oct. 10 at the Hilton Center city.

“The Luminary award goes to individuals who have tirelessly given of themselves to help others obtain equal access, equity and inclusion,” Johnson said.

For years, often as co-chair, Alexander led in the Community Building Initiative's efforts to forge improved race relations. “You’re always confident when Claude is in the room," said Dianne English, CBI executive director. “He’s very wise; he's very human. He is great fun to be with. He’s very lively.”

Alexander's portrayal of racial bias impressed English. Like toxic waste, he said, prejudice is underground and not a problem until disturbed by a social crisis.

“People are able to see structural dynamics of race,” Alexander said. “Literally what is in the ground – Interstates 77 and 85 coming through what were intact communities of color. When we understand what's in the ground, the better able we are to understand what has popped up and to address it in a broader context.”

To the degree that indifference to racial bias is giving way to a feeling of responsibility, he said, the community is moving forward. "There is still so much to do," he said.
Valecia McDowell, an attorney with Moore & Van Allen and chair of the Arts & Science Council, is impressed by Alexander’s empathy.

“He’s about seeing people for who they are, treating people with respect and kindness,” said McDowell, who worked with Alexander at CBI. “In situations where people think there is no bridge, he can build a bridge with his words. I’ve seen him do that.”

He couples that with ministry, she added. “Everywhere he goes, he's pastoring. I've never had a conversation with him when he wasn't pastoring.”

Alexander, 56, arrived in Charlotte in 1990 to pastor University Park Baptist Church. Now The Park, it mushroomed from 600 communicants to roughly 9,000. He grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, in a “deeply religious” household. His mother, Dr. Otrie Hickerson Smith, was “a woman of faith” but also “a trialblazer.” She was the first black psychiatrist in Mississippi. His stepfather, Dr. Robert L. Smith, founded Jackson's Central Mississippi Health Services.

Alexander attended Catholic secondary schools. His first protest was with a nun in rural Mississippi. They marched to support workers in a chicken processing plant.

“Getting into civic affairs in Charlotte was second nature,” Alexander said, offering two caveats. “I couldn’t have done what I have if the church had not seen that as an extension of its mission,” he said. “The same for my family.” He and wife Kimberly have two daughters, Camryn and Carsyn.

“It’s been a series of surprising invitations,” he said. Besides CBI, he was instrumental in myriad initiatives. These include The Committee of 25, related to magnet schools; the NAACP; Arts & Science Council; Urban League; United Way and Charlotte Center City Partners. Mentors include English, Charlie Dannelly, Mac Everett, James Ferguson, Hugh McColl, Harvey Gantt, Leighton Ford and Erskine Bowles.

Regarding Charlotte's struggle with upward mobility, Alexander offered insights for those who face generational exclusion from economic prosperity.

“The place I start does not have to be the place I finish,” is a beneficial attitude, he said. “Take advantage of every opportunity, not just to do but to be."

Accepting help makes a person better able to achieve, he added.

“Especially in Charlotte,” Alexander said, "the community is seeking to bring its resources to bear such that you should be the last generation to fear lack of mobility.”  

Former state senator Charlie Dannelly remembered Alexander’s early days on the NAACP Education Committee. “Every assignment we gave him, he tackled with almost viciousness,” Dannelly said. “He always came back with focused answers.

“I say to him, ‘Godspeed.’ He is one of God’s people that He put here on purpose.”


Congratulations Bishop! I pray the Lord continues to use you for His glory.
Posted on June 18, 2020
Congratulations Bishop Alexander. It was a wonderful experience having you as our Pastor, only too short-lived. May God continue to bless you in all of your future endeavors.
Posted on June 17, 2020
Congratulations Bishop Claude Alexander. I am so proud of you and your continual accomplishments. It's been a blessing watching You working in God's vineyard for over thirty years. I pray that GOD will continue to bless you and your Family.

Congratulations Bishop Claude Alexander
Posted on June 17, 2020
Congratulations Bishop! We are so proud to sit under your teaching. We are blessed beyond measure.
Posted on June 16, 2020
May God continue to Bless You!
Posted on June 16, 2020
You are the true example of a leader. We wish you all the best and congratulate you for this achievement. The Family of the late Sutter Smith from Terry, Mississippi.
Posted on June 16, 2020
Congratulations ? to a mighty man of God! Thank you Pastor Alexander for your obedience to God's word and your faithfulness and your leadership. I have grown so much spiritually under your covering as a member of the Park. I thank God for you and your family and pray that God will continue to use you and elevate you in ways only he can. We love ? you Bishop and so PROUD to call you our Shepherd.
Posted on June 16, 2020
Congratulations Bishop my Pastor Thank God for your faithfulness
Posted on June 16, 2020
Congratulations Pastor! I am so proud of you and blessed to be under your leadership. It is a joy to join you and God where He is working.
Posted on June 16, 2020
Congratulations Bishop Alexander!! Will always be my Pastor?
Posted on June 16, 2020
Congratulations Bishop Alexander, you deserve this. You are truly a man after God's heart.
Posted on June 16, 2020
Congratulations, Bishop Claude R Alexander Jr, the worthy recipient of this honorable award. You are truly salt and light to our congregation and The Charlotte Community as you lead by example and encourage us to do likewise. Praying God's continued Blessings upon you and your
Posted on June 15, 2020
Congratulations Bishop on such an awesome recognition. You are a true man of God, who leads your sheep to great pastures.
Posted on June 15, 2020
Congratulations Bishop!! May God continue to bless and strengthen you. Thank you for your spiritual leadership.
Posted on June 15, 2020
Congratulations Bishop Alexander! I'm so proud you and elated to be under your spiritual leadership. Blessings to you and your family.
Posted on June 15, 2020
Congratulations Bishop Alexander for all your continuous hard work in the community!
Posted on June 15, 2020
Congratulations Bishop Alexander!! May God continue to bless you and your family!!
Posted on June 15, 2020
Congratulations Bishop Alexander, may God continue to bless you and your family, and all you do for the community and our Park Church family.
Posted on June 15, 2020
Congratulations Bishop! I know of no one who is more deserving of this honor!
Posted on June 15, 2020
Congratulations Bishop Alexander! It's an honor to be under your leadership at The Park Church.
Posted on June 15, 2020
What an outstanding "man of God"! Bishop Alexander is a visionaries, planner, and doer of God's word. I'm excited to be a part of his journey as a member of The Park Ministries.
Posted on June 15, 2020
Bless you Bishop!!
Posted on June 15, 2020
Congratulations PASTOR! Soincredibly proud of you and proud to be a son in Ministry!
Posted on June 15, 2020
Congratulations Bishop Alexander,you are a true man of God and I know he has great things for you to do.May God continue to bless you and your family.
Posted on June 15, 2020
What an honor. I am so proud to be a long time member of the Park Church.
Posted on June 15, 2020
Congratulations Bishop Alexander may our Triune GOD continue to bless you and your family
Posted on June 15, 2020

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