In his classic The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois wrote that "the Negro church of to-day is the social centre of Negro life in the United States, and the most characteristic expression of African character." That was in 1903, and by the 1950's, when the fullness of time for a civil rights movement had come, many of those poised to lead their people had been raised, nourished, and fortified within the Black church. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., son and grandson of ministers, became involved in the Civil Rights Movement upon his call to the pulpit of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.
This year, the Dallas Institute's annual MLK Symposium addressed "The Role of the African American Church in the Civil Rights Movement," featuring as keynote speaker one of the true heroes of the movement, Ambassador Andrew Young, along with two prominent local figures, Dr. Keri Day and Rev. Zan Holmes, as panelists. Andrew Young has served as Executive Director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Congressman from Georgia, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., mayor of Atlanta, and President of the National Council of Churches USA. He was a seminal figure in the Civil Rights Movement and a personal friend of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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