Bishop Gene Hatley

Senior Shepherd, Barbee’s Chapel Harvest Word Church and Ministries 

Board Chair, MLK, Jr. University/Community Planning Corporation, Inc. 

Having served as senior shepherd for four  congregations in Pittsburgh, PA, Donora, PA, Beaver Falls, PA, Atlanta, GA, and now 31 years at Barbee’s Chapel, Chapel Hill, NC, has afforded me the opportunity for a variety of experiences dealing with racial inequalities, injustices, and disparities in economic inequities.

The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. still serves as a continued driving force for freedom, justice, and equality for all. In 1991, I joined the MLK Committee of Chapel Hill before it was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in the State of North Carolina in 1993. It was designated as a 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Charitable Non-Profit Organization by the Internal Revenue Tax Code in 1994. The Founders of the incorporated body were the Office of University Affairs (now the University Office for Diversity & Inclusion) at UNC-Chapel Hill, the South Orange Black Caucus, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, and the Campus Ministry Association of UNC.

My tenure as Board Chair began in 1999, following the retirement of the first Black Vice Chancellor of UNC, Dr. Harold Wallace. Because of the escalating cost of higher education and increasing needs of African-American and minority students, our main goal became that of providing scholarship aid to students in Orange County.

For the past 35 years, the MLK University/Community Planning Corporation has provided more than 317 student scholarships ranging from $1,000-1,500. Funds raised for scholarships have come from the University/Community MLK Memorial Banquet, generous donors, sponsors, and patrons. Our goal is to develop an endowed fund that will guarantee continued and sustained scholarship support, and expand our involvement in other initiatives that will help foster the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.