Black People : Ala. commune head has new project despite past

MsInterpret

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Ala. commune head has new project despite past

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By JAY REEVES (AP)

EMELLE, Ala. ? Pentecostal preacher Luke Edwards is the shepherd of a forlorn flock: For years his disciples have traveled the nation begging amid allegations of abuse and ruinous mismanagement.

Five youngsters have died in fires at his west Alabama commune, the Holyland, where parents and youngsters are separated for weeks at a time. The state has described the education provided at the commune's church-based school as substandard; Edwards' one-time followers tell of beatings and sexual misconduct by male elders.

Edwards, 84, has outlasted all the criticism and troubles, and an Associated Press review found he is involved in a new multimillion-dollar plan that could bring even more young people into his fold ? a prospect that worries one-time followers now living on their own.

Edwards preaches self-sufficiency, yet former members say his disciples bring in thousands of dollars daily panhandling outside stores in the name of abused children. Those under his care get free rent yet little of the money. If they leave, they depart virtually penniless.

Now he is part of a project to build a residential school for troubled high-schoolers on hundreds of acres of cow pasture and forest in Sumter County just east of the Mississippi line. The goal is to bring prison-bound youth from churches and cities all over the nation to Edwards' corner of west Alabama.

Edwards is among the founders of Greentown-USA, envisioned as a sprawling complex that is supposed to open in 2012. Plans include a private school with dormitories, a gym, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a recording studio, laboratories and a chapel for worship.

Edwards, who is black, advocates black economic empowerment and self-help. Yet food stamps provided the seed money for his operation in the mid-'70s, and disenchanted believers tell of working like slaves in run-down businesses controlled by Edwards, only to leave with nothing. READ MORE
 

$$RICH$$

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wow...so is he helping our problem or adding to the problem with new hardship and struggle????
 

Ankhur

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wow...so is he helping our problem or adding to the problem with new hardship and struggle????
He is keeping up the tradition of Elmer Genytry Con men, that Carter G Woodson wrote about, and Father Divine and Daddy Grace exemplified.

What those who joined and got coned have not done is keep up the tradition of Common Sense

Sad to say that these are the ones that are exposed and it is anyones guess how many more of these there are, that don't reach the press,
(used as intel mind control experiments like Jim Jones, or just expressions of despoitic megalomania)
as the economy slides annd folks get desperate about survivalism
 

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