Rev. Shelvin Jerome Hall was born May 3, 1916, in Yoakum, Texas. Graduating Magna cum Laude from Bishop College in Marshall, Texas, in 1944, Hall married Lucy M. Lewis that same year. Hall pursued a graduate degree in high school administration at Prairie View A&M University in 1949, and graduate studies in divinity from Howard University.
In 1955, Hall was appointed pastor of Friendship Baptist Church on Chicago’s West Side. After his initial appointment, Hall moved the church several times, increasing the membership to over 1,500. Hall became supervisor of the General Division of the National Baptist Convention in 1960, and subsequently served for twenty-five years as the dean of the Baptist General State Congress of Christian Education in Illinois; president of the West Side Baptist Ministers Conference; president of the National Board of Directors, One Church/One Child Program; president of the West Side Baptist Ministers Association; and president of the Baptist General State Convention of Illinois. Hall was also the founding chairman of the Community Bank of Lawndale; president of the West Side Isaiah Plan; chairman of the Family Division of the Chicago Area Boy Scouts of America; executive director of the Inter-Religious Council on Urban Affairs; president of the Local Redevelopment Authority of Lawndale; president of the NAACP West Side Branch; president of the Midwest Community Council; and founding board member of Operation PUSH.
When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. tried to establish a movement on the West Side of Chicago, Hall, then president of the West Side Federation, opened his church and offered King hospitality and access. Happily married, Hall and his wife raised New York State Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Hall, Illinois Appellate Court Judge Shelvin Louise Hall, and Lewis Hall, Supervisor of Higher Education for the New York Department of Education.
Hall passed away on May 21, 2007 at the age of 91.