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Reverend Gardner Taylor

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Information about Reverend Gardner Taylor

Profile image of Reverend Gardner Taylor

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
ReligionMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Minister
Nonprofit Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Gumbo, Beans (Red), Rice, Greens (Turnip)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Jamaica
Favorite Quote:
Don’t you know.

Birthplace

Born:
6/18/1918
Birth Location:
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
ReligionMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Minister
Nonprofit Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Gumbo, Beans (Red), Rice, Greens (Turnip)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Jamaica
Favorite Quote:
Don’t you know.

Birthplace

Born:
6/18/1918
Birth Location:
Baton Rouge
See how Reverend Gardner Taylor is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Born on June 18, 1918, as the only child of an educated mother and a Baptist preacher in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Gardner Calvin Taylor began on the path that would eventually lead to becoming the influential senior pastor of the Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn, New York. His peers named him the greatest African American preacher and one of America's greatest preachers in Ebony magazine in 1993. President Bill Clinton agreed in 2000 when he bestowed upon Taylor the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Despite his background, Taylor was agnostic until his involvement in a 1937 car accident in which a man died. This incident awoke his spirituality. Consequently, he enrolled in the Oberlin Graduate School of Theology in 1937, where he met and married Laura Bell Scott. They have one daughter, Martha. While still in school, he preached at Bethany Baptist Church in Oberlin, Ohio from 1938 to 1941.

Taylor actively advocated civil rights, social change and self-reliance as pastor for four churches. He allied himself with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the progressive civil rights wing of the National Baptist Convention. Taylor sought the presidency of the National Baptist Church Convention in 1961. After losing, he and his followers formed the Progressive National Baptist Convention. Taylor taught at prominent divinity schools, including Harvard and Yale. As Senior Pastor Emeritus of Concord, he traveled extensively around the world and used his experiences in his preaching.

Reverend Gardner Taylor passed away on April 5, 2015 at the age of 96.

Bibliography:

English, Merle. "Clinton Lauds Pastor for 'Moral Compass.'" Long Island (NY) Newsday, 11 August 2000.

Thomas, Gerald L. "African American Preaching: The Contribution of Gardner C. Taylor." Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 1993.

Thurman, Howard, ed. Why I Believe There Is a God. Chicago: Johnson Publishing Co., 1965.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Gardner Taylor interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gardner Taylor lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gardner Taylor describes his parents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gardner Taylor recalls growing up as an only child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gardner Taylor discusses his parents' courtship and his birth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gardner Taylor describes his mother and aunt
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gardner Taylor shares childhood memories in segregated Baton Rouge
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Gardner Taylor relates his early educational experiences
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Gardner Taylor explains the influence of Southern University on the community
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Gardner Taylor reflects on his college experiences
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Gardner Taylor describes the social life at Leland College
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Gardner Taylor describes his aunt
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gardner Taylor shares childhood memories of Louisiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gardner Taylor details how his family managed after his father's death
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gardner Taylor recalls his admittance to law school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Gardner Taylor remembers the fatal accident that changed his life
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Gardner Taylor describes preparing to go to Oberlin
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Gardner Taylor relates his experiences at Oberlin
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Gardner Taylor discusses race relations at Oberlin
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Gardner Taylor recalls how he met his wife
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gardner Taylor recalls his courtship and marriage
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gardner Taylor reflects on his desire to pastor a church
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gardner Taylor describes returning to the South after his years at Oberlin
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gardner Taylor explains how he became a pastor
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gardner Taylor relates how his wife adjusted to segregated New Orleans
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gardner Taylor discusses color stratification within the black community
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gardner Taylor remembers life during World War II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Gardner Taylor recalls the obstacles to voter registration
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Gardner Taylor explains his speaking style
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Gardner Taylor details the challenges of being a new pastor
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Gardner Taylor discusses the role of black preachers and the black church in civil rights protests
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Gardner Taylor talks about his wife's adjustment to Baton Rouge
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Gardner Taylor tells a story about Channing Tobias
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gardner Taylor describes his involvement in the National Baptist Convention
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gardner Taylor explains how he came to New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gardner Taylor recalls the fire that destroyed Concord Baptist Church
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Gardner Taylor remembers his early years at Concord Baptist Church
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Gardner Taylor discusses preaching in Copenhagen and Australia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Gardner Taylor details the rift in the National Baptist Convention over the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Gardner Taylor recalls the formation of the Progressive National Baptist Convention
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Gardner Taylor explains his theological philosphy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Gardner Taylor reflects on receiving the Medal of Freedom
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Gardner Taylor discusses the duty of pastors
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Gardner Taylor shares a story about Howard Thurman
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Gardner Taylor discusses the duty of the black church
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Gardner Taylor ponders his legacy and the future of the country
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Gardner Taylor illustrates the distinction between traditional theologians and black theologians
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Gardner Taylor expresses his opinion of mega-churches
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Gardner Taylor contemplates the afterlife, and how his father would view his career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Gardner Taylor lists his favorite theological books and Bible passage