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“We’re losing the pillars of our community. Who will replace them?”

“We’re losing the pillars of our community. Who will replace them?”

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A diminished role for black community elders?

Memorial services are rarely festive events, but the recent celebration of the life of Barbara Clark Elam seemed to be especially solemn. Even though she had been incapacitated for some time by the throes of Alzheimer’s, her death seemed to mark the end of times when the role of community elders was significant. As Rev. Julien Cook preached allegorically in his sermon, “with the loss of an elder we lose the book.”