America's largest Protestant denomination has elected a black pastor as its vice president for the first time in its history.
On Tuesday, Southern Baptist Convention appointed Rev. Fred Luter of New Orleans first vice president at the group's annual conference in Phoenix.
The election of Luter, 54, is a milestone for the denomination which has worked to overcome a history of racism.
"It took us 150 years to come to our senses … and seek the forgiveness of God and to apologize with our African-American friends and to ask their forgiveness for the strain of racism all through our history," SBC President Bryant Wright said after the vote.
"But there's a noble reason for which we were founded and that is for the propagation of the gospel of Jesus Christ," he added.
Luter pastors one of about 3,400 black congregations in the SBC. Black congregations represent less than 8 percent of Southern Baptist churches.