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Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts

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Information about Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts

Profile image of Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts

Profession

Category:
ReligionMakers
Occupation(s):
Pastor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fish (Fried)
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Northern Michigan
Favorite Quote:
The Only Thing Necessary For The Triumph Of Evil Is For Good People To Do Nothing.

Birthplace

Born:
2/17/1935
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
ReligionMakers
Occupation(s):
Pastor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fish (Fried)
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Northern Michigan
Favorite Quote:
The Only Thing Necessary For The Triumph Of Evil Is For Good People To Do Nothing.

Birthplace

Born:
2/17/1935
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Reverend Joseph L. Roberts was born on February 17, 1935 in Chicago, Illinois. Roberts attended Chicago Public Schools throughout his childhood and graduated cum laude from Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1956. In the 1960s, Roberts attended the Union Theological Seminary in New York City and obtained his Masters of Divinity (M.Div.) degree; he subsequently attended Princeton Theological Seminary, where he earned his Masters of Theology degree.

During the early part of the 1970s, Roberts became senior pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia; handed picked by Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. Roberts served as the senior pastor for a total of thirty years and was recognized for being an energetic orator and an accomplished musician. During the thirty years that Roberts presided as pastor, as many as 2,000 new members were added to the church’s congregation. Under Roberts’s leadership, Ebenezer Baptist Church’s congregation’s financial giving also increased 300 percent. When Roberts took the helm at Ebenezer Baptist Church, he launched an extensive community outreach program that included the Teenage Mother’s Ministry; tutoring and counseling programs; a food co-op; and an older adult daycare center. Roberts also envisioned starting a parochial school that would concentrate on providing a good education and clear role models for young males. Roberts was an accomplished administrator who successfully negotiated bank financing for Ebenezer’s new Horizon Sanctuary; the sanctuary, dedicated on March 21, 1999, was an eight-million-dollar edifice which encompassed the early roots of Christianity as well as symbols of African American heritage.

In 2004, Roberts was a recipient of distinguished alumni awards from Union Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary. In 2006 Roberts published Sideswiped by Eternity: Sermons from Ebenezer Baptist Church; this collection of sermons demonstrates Roberts’s commitment to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the lives of his parishioners, and the message of Jesus Christ.

Roberts was interviewed by The HistoryMakers in 2007.

Roberts passed away on February 15, 2015. He is survived by his wife, Esther Wortham Roberts, one son, two daughters and six grandchildren.

See how Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts talks about his maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts talks about his mother's education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts describes his relationship with his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts describes his parents' personalities
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts talks about his paternal aunts and uncles
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts describes his community on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts remembers his early influences
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts remembers Edmund Burke Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Joseph L. Roberts remembers his influential teachers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Joseph L. Roberts describes Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Joseph L. Roberts describes his musical education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Joseph L. Roberts describes his aspirations while in high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Joseph L. Roberts recalls his organizational involvement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Joseph L. Roberts remembers graduating from Englewood High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Joseph L. Roberts recalls his decision to attend Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Joseph L. Roberts describes his influences at Knoxville College
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Joseph L. Roberts talks about his decision to enter the ministry
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend Joseph L. Roberts describes his studies at Knoxville College
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Reverend Joseph L. Roberts remembers segregation in Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Reverend Joseph L. Roberts describes the Union Theological Seminary in New York City
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts recalls his first impressions of New York City
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts recalls his mentors at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts describes his conversion to Presbyterianism
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts talks about his spirituality
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts remembers his marriage
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts recalls pastoring the Weequahic Presbyterian Church in Newark, New Jersey, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts recalls pastoring the Weequahic Presbyterian Church in Newark, New Jersey, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts recalls his transition to Elmwood United Presbyterian Church in East Orange, New Jersey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts describes his accomplishments at the Elmwood United Presbyterian Church
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts recalls the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts talks about his role in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts describes his congregants
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts talks about civil rights legislation
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts recalls joining the national office of the Presbyterian church
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts recalls becoming the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, pt.1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts recalls becoming the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, pt.2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts remembers Alberta Williams King
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts recalls his challenges at the Ebenezer Baptist Church
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts recalls his plans for the Ebenezer Baptist Church
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts describes the Intergenerational Resource Center in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Revered Dr. Joseph L. Roberts describes the programs at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Revered Dr. Joseph L. Roberts describes the programs at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Revered Dr. Joseph L. Roberts recalls the death of Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Revered Dr. Joseph L. Roberts remembers Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr.'s influence in the community, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Revered Dr. Joseph L. Roberts remembers Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr.'s influence in the community, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Revered Dr. Joseph L. Roberts recalls the obstacles to building the Horizon Sanctuary, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Revered Dr. Joseph L. Roberts recalls the obstacles to building the Horizon Sanctuary, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Revered Dr. Joseph L. Roberts describes the Horizon Sanctuary
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Revered Dr. Joseph L. Roberts reflects upon his time at the Ebenezer Baptist Church
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts recalls choosing his successor at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts talks about Raphael G. Warnock
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts recalls serving as the interim pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts talks about his book
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts talks about his family
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts describes his concerns for the African American community, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts describes his concerns for the African American community, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts reflects upon his legacy