Stephen Kelly

Stephen Kelly, School of Music professorWorship Arts/Sankofa Coordinator

Adjunct Faculty, School of Music
North Park University


Why is black history month important to you?

It’s important for many reasons, a few of which are:

  • raising awareness of the achievements of African Americans in this country, which many of the history books omit,
  • a commitment to redefine African American culture and influence, and
  • combating and shedding light on the negative stereotypes constructed and perpetuated by systems and structures through various forms.

Who is someone famous in black history that has inspired you personally? Why?

MLK is certainly a hero of mine, not just because he was the most influential in terms of eradicating blatant terrorism of Blacks in this country, but also by the way he did it, not polarizing the issue, but making it a moral issue in which all humanity must bear witness and take up the fight against injustice of every kind. His fight was relentless, even at the peril of his own life and family.  Father Michael Phfleger, a white pastor on the South Side of Chicago, left the comforts of his own culture and moved into poverty stricken neighborhood of Auburn Gresham and rooted his life doing the restorative work of the Kingdom in the face of much opposition.

How have you showcased positive influence on the black community?

I'd like to think I've been a positive influence. I certainly feel a responsibility to continue to legacy of my forefathers on whose shoulders I stand, and continue to pour into the next generation of African Americans, whether that is mentoring, challenging, or walking beside them during their time here at NPU.


(Interviewed by Brinna Spilde)