Religion
9:44 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Women March In White At National Baptist Convention

The National Baptist Convention has been in Charlotte all week for its annual session. It’s billed as the nation’s largest and oldest African-American religious convention, and organizers say it attracted people from 49 states and the Bahamas. One of the convention’s signature events was Wednesday’s Women in White March. Women dressed in white (the color of choice for missionaries) to raise money and also show off their state pride. WFAE's Tasnim Shamma produced this audio postcard from the event.

Eva Williams is a former vice president of the National Women's Branch. She's from East Chicago, Indiana and has been attending the march for more than 35 years.  

"I love the Lord and I love the women and all that we stand for as being witnesses for our lord and savior Jesus Christ," Williams says.  

She explains that the funds raised during the Women In White March by each state go toward church missions within the country and abroad.

"And then it's for fun," Williams says. "We dress up and each state represents with a different color. Maybe with red, and then you will see 'em in yellow and orange and green ..."   

Everyone is wearing white, a color missionaries wear as a symbol of purity. But representatives of each state accessorizes with different props. New Jersey's delegation accessorized with large golden wings, and sang:

Fly Away, Oh Glory, I'll Fly Away.
When I die Hallelujah By And By
I'll Fly Away. I'll Fly Away."

Jean Johnson, treasurer of the Bethany Baptist Association of Southern New Jersey explains the theme they chose this year. 

"The song that they're singing is 'When I die/I'll fly away', and they have gold because New Jersey' colors are white with gold," Johnson says. "If you can imagine the wings on a dove and how a dove opens up their wings. So the gold is being opened up as cloth that's pleated and when you open it up it looks like wings that you're flying away."