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A rousing performance by a gospel choir and fiery oratory from several speakers brought people at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church to their feet Saturday, clapping, shouting and joining in support of the goal of better education for more young African Americans.

�We are in a crisis!� thundered Rev. Frank M. Smith Jr., president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition, which held the two-hour service. �We won’t accept Fs from our children. We will require our children to behave.�

The coalition used its annual Emancipation Proclamation Day worship service � held each year in honor of President Abraham Lincoln’s Jan. 1, 1863 Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves � to highlight this year’s goal of increasing the number of college degrees among African Americans.

As part of a broader effort by Louisville to raise the number of college degrees held by residents by 55,000 by 2020, the ministerial coalition is throwing its support behind an effort to make sure at least 15,000 of those degrees are awarded to African American students.

Rev. Kevin Cosby, senior pastor at St. Stephen Church, told the crowd that filled the Antioch church that the churches play a vital role in that effort.