The Southern Baptist Convention is about to take a step away from its long history of racial discrimination and elect its first black president.
Rev. Fred Luter Jr. is currently running unopposed for the position and appears a lock to take the top spot when delegates from the convention vote next week. He grew up in New Orleans and is the pastor of the Franklin Avenue church, which was rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina and claims about 5,000 member, according to the Associated Press.
Luter has been largely seen as a way for the convention to revamp their reputation among African Americans. As the Economist explains, the church started an earnest, if much delayed, effort to make amends for its past in 1995, when it formally apologized for its support of slavery (the convention itself was formed when southern Baptists split from others on the issue) and opposition to civil rights in the '60s. The convention has even considered changing its name to mark a fresh start, and has passed a series of measures designed to make the convention more diverse.