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SCLC To Carry On Fallen Leader's Vision

ATLANTA - Following the sudden death of Southern Christian Leadership Conference president, Rev. Howard Creecy Jr., other SCLC leaders expressed shock but vowed to continue the work he started.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Black News, African American News, Minority News, Civil Rights News, Discrimination, Racism, Racial Equality, Bias, Equality, Afro American NewsCreecy died of an apparent heart attack on Thursday, he was 57.  Creecy was elected president of the civil rights group in January after Bernice King, daughter of the organization’s founder Dr. Martin Luther King, declined the position.

The Baptist preacher's death will force the 54 year old civil rights organization to go through another unexpected transition.

"He was a strong leader but he has laid the groundwork for us to move forward in a way that we probably haven't been able to in the past," said Damien Conners, program director of the Atlanta-based organization.

Among Creecy's priorities were education, voting rights and HIV/AIDS awareness, said Conners. The 26-year-old was part of Creecy's strategy to make the organization relevant to young people.

Conners said the SCLC will sponsor a Washington event on jobs and political advocacy -- timed to the late August dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial -- and a fall campaign on college campuses to boost funding of education

Isaac Newton Farris Jr., King's nephew, will become interim president.

“We are shocked,” Farris stated. “As far as I knew, Howard was in great health. He has been my lifelong friend; this news hits me at my core. Howard has been a prophetic leader who deeply inspired me along with countless others across this great nation and world. From his inspired leadership, which revitalized the SCLC, we will work to continue on the path that he and leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. lay before us.”

Farris says the organization will carry on the vision of its fallen leader.

He went on to say Reverend Creecy was passionate about his plans for SCLC even in his final hours, when he was focused on plans for the group's annual convention scheduled for Aug. 14 and Aug. 15 in Atlanta.

``While we have obviously taken a bit of a blow here with the loss of our leader, the organization is still standing,'' Farris said at a news conference Monday. ``We're going to continue to follow our mission and the path (Creecy) has so diligently laid before us. If there was one individual who was responsible for this organization being here today, that would be Howard Creecy. He saved this organization ... when others questioned whether it should even be here.''

The convention will focus on moving SCLC forward, and included in that mantra will be discussions about the next board of directors.

Farris declined to say whether he would be running for election. "I have not had a chance to talk to all of the board,'' Farris said. “Suffice it to say we will elect a president.''

Creecy, a third-generation preacher, was pastor of The Olivet Church in the Atlanta suburb of Fayetteville, Ga. The Rev. Carroll Baltimore, president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, called Creecy "one of PNBC's greatest pastors."

“We thank the community for the outpouring of compassion and condolences during this difficult time,” Creecy’s wife, Yolanda Grier Creecy and his family said in a statement.

A candlelight vigil to remember Creecy is scheduled today at the SCLC's national headquarters in downtown Atlanta. His funeral is scheduled for Saturday at Jackson Memorial Baptist Church in Atlanta. 



STORY TAGS: SCLC , Southern Christian Leadership Conference , Black News, African American News, Minority News, Civil Rights News, Discrimination, Racism, Racial Equality, Bias, Equality, Afro American News


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