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NAACP statement on the passing of Dr. Gardner Calvin Taylor

Baltimore, Md. – Dr. Gardner Calvin Taylor, noted pastor, civil rights leader and close friend and mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with whom he founded the Progressive National Baptist Convention, passed away this Sunday, April 5, 2015.  Dr. Taylor, known as “the dean of American preaching” delivered the pre-inauguration sermon for President Bill Clinton in 1993 and later received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2000.  The grandson of enslaved people, Dr. Taylor was born and raised in the segregated south.  Dr. Taylor served as Pastor of Concord Baptist Church for forty-two years, from 1948 to his retirement in 1990. During his tenure, more than 9,000 additional members joined the Church. He has served as a preacher and lecturer throughout the United States and around the world, including the NBC Series, National Radio Pulpit, which served 100 stations. Dr. Taylor lectured extensively throughout the continents of Europe, Africa and Australia—he authored four books, and received 12 honorary degrees. Dr. Taylor presented the 86th Spingarn Award to Vernon E. Jordan Jr. in 2001, during the 92nd NAACP National Convention in New Orleans.

Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO of the NAACP:

“The NAACP extends its deepest condolences to the family and community of the civil rights icon, Dr. Gardner C. Taylor.  Dr. Taylor’s counsel to Dr. King reminds us that our elders play an instrumental role in cultivating the strong foundation upon which we stand. Their sacrifice, guidance and leadership is what propels all of us forward. Known as one of the most preeminent preachers of our time, Dr. Taylor will be sorely missed as his commitment to the struggle for civil rights and the NAACP goes unmatched.”

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