This month I will share stories on Black History Month – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. History isn’t always pretty and sometimes we sanitize that which makes us uncomfortable. Here I will share all facets of Black History and try to focus on people not necessarily in the history books.
The Ugly – Bishop Eddie Long
Eddie Long was born on May 12, 1953 in Huntersville, North Carolina to Rev. Floyd M. Long, Jr. and Hattie Long. In 1977 he graduated from North Carolina Central University with a degree in business administration. He worked for Ford Company, but was fired for submitting personal phone calls as expenses. He decided to go into ministry.
Long moved to Atlanta to study theology and pastored at a small Jonesboro, Georgia church. He became the pastor of the New Birth Missionary Church. The church grew from 300 members to 25,000 under Long. At this time he married Dabara S. Houston and had a child with her. Houston filed for divorce claiming cruel treatment and that Long had a “violent and vicious temper.” She was awarded custody of their son in 1985.
In 1990, Long married Vanessa Griffin. She filed for divorce in 2011 after Long was accused of sexually abusing boys in the church. They never divorced. But Long’s school New Birth Christian Academy, lost donations and closed due to the allegations.
The sexual abuse claims came in 2010 from Maurice Robinson, Anthony Flagg, Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande. They each filed separate lawsuits saying Long coerced them into sexual relationships. They were paid off with jobs at the church, cars, overseas trips, and other gifts. Apparently Long would quote scripture to the boys supporting the sexual relationships. The lawsuits were settled out of court.
In addition to the sexual misconduct, Long was sued by several church members after they were convinced by Long to invest in a Ponzi scheme instigated by Ephren Taylor. Taylor said he was going to use to money for charities and helping blighted areas, instead the money was used in investments and his own use.
In August 2016, Long showed off his weight loss claiming it was from eating raw vegetables. In truth, he was suffering from an aggressive form of cancer of which he died from on Jan. 15, 2017.
Eddie Long. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved February 20, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kermit_Gosnell
Manuel-Logan, Ruth. (n.d.). Eddie Long Settles Lawsuit With Church Members In Alleged Ponzi Scheme. Newsone. Retrieved February 20, 2017. https://newsone.com/2868179/eddie-long-ponzi-scheme/