Photo: John E. Davidson / Contributor via Getty Images
  /  03.04.2023

Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin J. Cochran is slowly becoming a hot topic on social media as some of his controversial remarks from a Black History Month speech circulate online. Cochran was a guest speaker at a Georgia Department of Labor Black History Month event on Monday (Feb. 27), where he explained his belief that slavery in America was all part of God’s plan.

The religious individual started by expressing how the “Roots” miniseries, which is based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel “Roots: The Saga of an American Family,” was once an emotionally triggering program. “I used to get angry when I watched it, but I don’t get angry anymore. I came to the realization that God is sovereign… God always has a reason for the things that he allows,” said Cochran in the unlisted video shared on GDOL’s YouTube page.

“Listen to this — brace yourselves, my Black brothers and sisters — slavery in America did not catch God by surprise. In his sovereignty, listen, God allowed Africans to be brought to America as slaves. Africa was on the eve of social, spiritual, and economic catastrophe and famine — still going on today. So he brought 6 million Africans to America through the Middle Passage as slaves. Just as it was God’s divine plan to enslave the nation of Israel, it was his sovereignty that allowed Africans to be brought to America in bondage,” he continued.

“Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin J. Cochran actually said it was God’s divine plans that allowed Africans to be brought to America as slaves,” responded one Twitter user. “So slavery was God’s plan, huh? No, my misguided brotha, it was MAN’S PLAN. Know the difference.”

“Well then, was it God’s plan that Kelvin J. Cochran got fired [from] Atlanta’s Fire & Rescue Dept. in 2015?” tweeted another. “Alas, it’s always the tactic of a false christian (notice the small ‘c’) to twist the Scriptures. God gives free will and the Bible, too, so that will doesn’t go too far.”

Cochran made Atlanta news headlines in 2015 when he was fired from the fire department in relation to his self-published Bible study book, “Who Told You That You Were Naked,” that he gave to colleagues. He later sued the city and then-Mayor Kasim Reed, and in 2018, the lawsuit was settled for $1.2 million.

If interested, you can watch Cochran’s full speech below.


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