Darrin Rodgers interviews Chaplain Emanuel Williams in Springfield, Missouri, May 12, 2008.
Chaplain Williams has served as an endorsed healthcare chaplain with the Assemblies of God since 1988 and currently lives in the Atlanta, Georgia area. This interview covers not only his recent chaplaincy ministry, but also his Pentecostal background in San Francisco, California. As a youth, he grew up in the church pastored by Cornelia Jones Robertson, and he is also a close friend of her godson, Bob Harrison. Robertson became, in 1923, one of the earliest African Americans ordained by the Assemblies of God. She is remembered for the rescue mission that she pastored in the Barbary Coast area of San Francisco, known as the Pacific Street Mission, and she later pastored the Emmanuel Pentecostal Holiness Church, which was successively affiliated with the United Holy Church, Mount Calvary of the Pentecostal Faith Church (a New York based church led by Mother Horn), and the Open Bible Standard Churches. Harrison is best known for breaking the color barrier in the Assemblies of God in 1962, when General Superintendent Thomas F. Zimmerman invited him to become an ordained minister, thus overturning a longstanding policy denying ordination to African Americans. Williams also describes his own decision to remain in the Assemblies of God despite racist attitudes he experienced.