Flake, Floyd H.

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Flake, Floyd H.

January 30,1945

Minister and former congressman Floyd H. Flake was born in Los Angeles and earned a B.A. degree from Wilberforce University in 1967 and a doctorate from United Theological Seminary in 1995. From 1970 to 1973 Flake was associate dean at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. There he became alarmed by the failure of the recently integrated schools to educate young African Americans. Flake went to Boston University as dean of students, university chaplain, and director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Afro-American Center. In 1976 he took over Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church in Queens, New York.

Flake built up the church and increased its membership. He also involved himself and the church in the community and it became one of the major sources of new housing in the community through projects like the Allen A.M.E./Hall Estates, which in 1996 opened fifty new houses near the church-sponsored senior citizens center. His philosophy is expressed in his book, The Way of the Bootstrapper: Nine Action Ways for Achieving Your Dreams (1999).

In 1986, Flake was elected to the House of Representatives and held his seat until he resigned in the middle of 1997, just after he dedicated a $23 million cathedral for his church. Floyd attracted national attention when he threw his support to the Republican-backed school voucher plan in early 1997. He also showed that he was comfortable with the Republican Party's stress on "traditional family values" by opening his pulpit to presidential candidate George W. Bush. In May 2000 he announced that he was taking a position with Edison Schools, Inc., a large forprofit school management company.

See also African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church


Brennan, Carol. "Floyd H. Flake" In Contemporary Black Biography, edited by Shirelle Phelps, vol. 18. Detroit, Mich.: Gale, 1998.

Flake, Floyd H., and M. Elaine McCollins Flake. Practical Virtues: Everyday Values and Devotions for African American Families. New York: HarperCollins, 2003.

Hicks, Jonathan P. "Rep. Flake Breaks with Party to Back School Vouchers." New York Times, March 12, 1997.

Traub, James. "Hopefuls; Street Toughs; Power Brokers; Networkers; Strivers; Grande Dames; Musclemen; Exiles; Reformers; Purists; Clones; Big Mouths; Outsiders; Air Kissers; Fanatics; Gossips; Nightclubbers: Floyd Flake's Middle America." New York Times Magazine, October 19, 1997.

Wyatt, Edward. "Floyd Flake to Take Post with Education Company." New York Times, May 3, 2000.

robert l. johns (1996)
Updated by publisher 2005