Bishop Emrich Refuses Black Demands


Fifth Estate # 101, March 19-April 1, 1970

The Black Economic Development Council has moved against the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan demanding that it give $200,000 for use in the black community. This is part of BEDC program that white churches pay reparations to the black community for the damage done to it over the last 350 years.

The National Episcopal Diocese has already agreed to give a large sum to the Council and the local group was demanding a similar show of Christian faith on the part of Bishop Richard Emrich and his church.

On March 16 Council members occupied Emrich’s posh office at St. Paul’s Cathedral across from the Woodward police station.

In response to what the Council called “our desperation,” Emrich declared that the people assembled could occupy his office indefinitely and the demonstrators decided to leave. In the words of a Council member, “Once again the hopes and aspirations of the black people of Detroit have been trampled under the feet of racist white churchmen in the person of Bishop Emrich.”

“We recognized that the local Diocese has no intention of making any kind of realistic response to the suffering of black people in Detroit and this means we must launch an all out attack on the entrenched racism of the local Episcopal Church,” according to a BEDC member.

The group is planning as its next step, a press conference on the steps of St. Paul’s, Sunday March 22 at 11:00 am. At that time they will present the statement and demands listed below.

Bishop Richard Emrich is the enemy of black people. Not only has he allowed his church and its members to participate in the criminal plunder of the black community, he has used his power to stall and halt the attempts of our community to struggle in its own behalf.

Bishop Emrich is a liar and a cheat, preying upon the future of hungry black children. Several months ago Emrich promised to respond to the urban crisis by relating to programmatic solutions in a powerless committee composed of some good black and white members, has, of course, shown no sign of accomplishing anything.

Because of Emrich’s foot dragging and stalling, the black community was forced to go to the National Episcopal Church to raise money for a program designed to organize black people for meaningful change in our school system. The national church has studied the program thoroughly and granted the money.

But the funds badly needed to launch this program are now hung up by the arch racist Emrich. In typical slave master race style, Emrich has established a “committee” to “study” the proposal.

Not only does Emrich refuse to help solve the problems of our city, he does anything he can to prevent others from helping. It is precisely because of the racism in this diocese that forces us to relate to the national Episcopal Church. It is this same extreme, undying white racism which is forcing right thinking Episcopals to leave the church in droves.

In meetings between BEDC, Emrich, his executive committee and standing committee, the bishop made a definite commitment to BEDC. His subsequent actions have shown he has no intention of keeping his promises. He is a liar.

Because of this hypocritical racism and the utter corruption that he represents, we have no choice but to confront the Bishop and to call upon all civilized people to join with us in this struggle against ecclesiastical racism, corruption and degeneracy.


  1. Immediately approve the Emergency Grant for Parents and Students for Community Control.
  2. Emrich must immediately cough up the $100,000 that was supposed to go to the Urban Crisis—$15,000 to the National Committee of Black Churchmen and $85,000 to the Santa Maria Educational Center and the United Community Movement (UNICOM).
  3. That all unused property and resources of the church be turned over to the black community, beginning with Trinity Episcopal Church.
  4. The church must work with the Black Caucus in helping the National Committee of Black Churchmen set up the International Black Appeal.
  5. That Emrich acknowledge in his Detroit News column that he is a racist, liar, hypocritical vulture, a barbaric pirate, with a Nazi like mentality and an intense, passionate, undying hate for black, poor and oppressed people.

Black Economic Development Council

National Committee of Black Churchmen


Parents and Students for Community Control

Black Resources

West Central Organization