On June 27, 2003, Rear Admiral Barry C. Black (Ret.) was elected the 62nd chaplain of the United States Senate, an office first established in 1789. Prior to coming to Capitol Hill, Chaplain Black served in the U.S. Navy for more than twenty-seven years, ending his distinguished career as the chief of Navy chaplains.
Commissioned as a Navy chaplain in 1976, Chaplain Black’s first duty station was the Fleet Religious Support Activity in Norfolk, Virginia. Subsequent assignments included Naval Support Activity, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland; First Marine Aircraft Wing, Okinawa, Japan; Naval Training Center, San Diego, California; USS Belleau Wood (LHA 3), Long Beach, California; Naval Chaplains School Advanced Course, Newport, Rhode Island; Marine Aircraft Group 31, Beaufort, South Carolina; Assistant Staff Chaplain, Chief of Naval Education and Training, Pensacola, Florida; and Fleet Chaplain, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Norfolk, Virginia. As rear admiral, his personal decorations included the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (two medals), Meritorious Service Medals (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals (two awards), and numerous unit awards, campaign, and service medals.
Chaplain Black is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and an alumnus of Oakwood College, Andrews University, North Carolina Central University, Eastern Baptist Seminary, Salve Regina
University, and United States International University. In addition to earning master of arts degrees in divinity, counseling, and management, he has received a doctorate degree in ministry and a doctor of philosophy degree in psychology.
Chaplain Black has been recognized for many outstanding achievements. Of particular note, he as chosen from 127 nominees for the 1995 NAACP Renowned Service Award for his contribution to equal opportunity and civil rights. He also received the 2002 Benjamin Elijah Mays Distinguished Leadership Award from the Morehouse School of Religion. In 2004, the Old Dominion University chapter of the NAACP conferred on him the Image Award, “Reaffirming the Dream—Realizing the Vision,” for military excellence. Chaplain Black is the author of From the Hood to the Hill and The Blessing of Adversity. His second book with Tyndale Momentum, Nothing to Fear, releases in February 2017. Chaplain Black and his wife Brenda have three sons.