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Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin

Religious and community leader, Marvin Collins Griffin was born on February 20, 1923 in Wichita, Kansas to Beatrice Howell and William Marvin Collins. He was raised by his aunt and uncle and was educated at public schools in Dallas, Texas before graduating from Bishop College with his B.A. degree. Griffin went on to receive four other degrees including his M.Div degree from the Oberlin Graduate School of Theology, his M.R.E. degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and his D.Min degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Between 1951 and 1969, Griffin served as pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church in Waco, Texas. In 1969, he became a pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church and served on its Board of Directors. While at Ebenezer, he also served as the first black president of the Austin Independent School District board in 1978 for a two-year term. Griffin founded the East Austin Economic Development Corporation and in 1990, along with other Board and church members, he helped earn a grant for the Ebenezer Child Development Center to construct a new facility. In 2002, on his thirty-third anniversary as pastor of Ebenezer, the building that housed the Development Center was named the Marvin C. Griffin Building.

In addition to being a pastor, Griffin served as the corresponding secretary of the Missionary Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Director of Christian Education Enrichment Program at the National Baptist Fellowship of Churches. Griffin also spent time teaching as a Director and Lecturer for the Teacher Training Department of the National Baptist Sunday School. He also acted as an instructor at Ridgecrest, North Carolina, teaching “Pastoral Ministry in the Black Church.” He has served in many other capacities at state and national religious gatherings.

Griffin and his late wife Mrs. Lois King Griffin, had three daughters - Marva Lois Carter, Gaynelle Jones, and Ria Griffin. Rev. Griffin passed away on December 25, 2013.

Marvin Griffin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 14, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.021

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/14/2010

Last Name

Griffin

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

C.

Occupation
Schools

Bishop College

Oberlin College

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Julia C. Frazier Elementary School

Lincoln High School

First Name

Marvin

Birth City, State, Country

Wichita

HM ID

GRI07

Favorite Season

August

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa

Favorite Quote

A Winner Never Quits And A Quitter Never Wins.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Interview Description
Birth Date

2/20/1923

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Austin

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Liver, Onions

Death Date

12/25/2013

Short Description

Pastor Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin (1923 - 2013 ) served as religious leader for the New Hope Baptist Church and the Ebenezer Baptist Church. In honor of his accomplishments, a building associated with Ebenezer was named after him in 2002.

Employment

New Hope Baptist Church

Ebenezer Baptist Church

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613202">Tape: 1 Slating of Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613203">Tape: 1 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613204">Tape: 1 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613205">Tape: 1 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin remembers his birth mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613206">Tape: 1 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin recalls being raised by his maternal aunt</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613207">Tape: 1 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613208">Tape: 1 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about his early education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613209">Tape: 1 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin recalls his early religious experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613210">Tape: 1 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes a confrontation in East Dallas, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613211">Tape: 1 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about his early aspirations to be a preacher</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613212">Tape: 1 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes the East Dallas neighborhood of Dallas, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613213">Tape: 2 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about his employment during high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613214">Tape: 2 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin remembers attending Bishop College in Marshall, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613215">Tape: 2 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about notable people at Bishop College in Marshall, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613216">Tape: 2 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin remembers Bishop College President Joseph H. Rhoads</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613217">Tape: 2 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin recalls attending the Oberlin Graduate School of Theology in Oberlin, Ohio pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613218">Tape: 2 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about meeting his wife</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613219">Tape: 2 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin recalls attending the Oberlin Graduate School of Theology in Oberlin, Ohio pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613220">Tape: 2 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about his struggle to find employment</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613221">Tape: 2 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes the Southern Baptist Convention</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613222">Tape: 3 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin remembers becoming the pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Waco, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613223">Tape: 3 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin recalls receiving religious exemption from World War II</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613224">Tape: 3 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about his challenges at New Hope Baptist Church in Waco, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613225">Tape: 3 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin recalls the changes he made as pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Waco, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613226">Tape: 3 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin remembers reaching out to the Jewish community in Waco, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613227">Tape: 3 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes theologians that inspired his religious philosophy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613228">Tape: 3 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin recalls developing a parsonage at New Hope Baptist Church in Waco, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613229">Tape: 3 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin remembers becoming pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Austin, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613230">Tape: 3 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about his civil rights activities in Waco, Texas, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613231">Tape: 4 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes his civil rights activities in Waco, Texas, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613232">Tape: 4 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin recalls desegregation in Waco, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613233">Tape: 4 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin remembers meeting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613234">Tape: 4 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes the black churches in Waco, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613235">Tape: 4 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about urban renewal in Waco, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613236">Tape: 4 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes his political involvements</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613237">Tape: 4 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about his graduate degrees</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613238">Tape: 5 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about the history of Baptist conventions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613239">Tape: 5 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes Ebenezer Baptist Church's affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613240">Tape: 5 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about founding the East Austin Economic Development Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613241">Tape: 5 Reverend Dr. Henry Mitchell describes the East Austin Economic Development Corporation's programs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613242">Tape: 5 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about his advocacy for childcare and education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613243">Tape: 5 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes his concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613244">Tape: 5 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin reflects upon his legacy and message to future generations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613245">Tape: 5 Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin narrates his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

1$2

DATitle
Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin remembers becoming the pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Waco, Texas
Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin recalls desegregation in Waco, Texas
Transcript
So we were talking about the Southern Baptist Convention, okay. So tell me more about your position there and then we're in 1948.$$I had an office downtown in the black area, the Hall [Street] and Thomas [Avenue] and it was a building, we stayed in it, we had classes for children, after school and we also had classes for youth on Wednesday night and I taught two nights a week to ministers who needed help and I stayed there about two and a half years, two, three years, then I, I came home one day, in the meantime my wife [Lois King Griffin] had a job teaching in Dallas [Texas] 'cause both of us were from Dallas and as far as our adult life was concerned, had been in Dallas, I came home one day and the teacher, well let me see, how did it happen? I, my wife (pause), I had the privilege of trying to collect this (pause), they put me on the program for the B.M.E. Convention [Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention of Texas; Baptist Missionary and Education Convention], I start there. That's the oldest convention, black Baptist convention in Texas and I grew up in the church that was a member of that convention and they put me on after I finished Oberlin [Graduate School of Theology, Oberlin, Ohio] and when, the young minds, you know, upcoming leaders, they put me on, for the theological lectures. They didn't ask me, they just put me on and I was in it then. I said, you know, I mean, they didn't give me the courtesy of, of responding, they just put me on. I'm not going, I'm not going to say anything and they put me on without saying anything, well that's the way I looked at it, I'm not going. So they put me on again. I said I'm going this time. They have the courage, the nerve to put me on, twice, and I'm saying maybe, and I'm going to select something to talk about that they may not like. I was young and rebellious. So I went, and I went and talked about the inspiration of the scriptures and I got down there and behold, my college president, President Rhoads [Joseph J. Rhoads], who was president of Bishop [Bishop College, Marshall, Texas] when I was a student there, was in the audience and he sat on the front row and led the question period. And so, and they enjoyed it so much they wanted me to repeat and have another session the next day and a week or so after that I went home from the convention I got, came home and my wife said, "You have a call from President Rhoads' wife [Lucile Bridge Rhoads]," and I called him and he said, "Well, Dr. Jenkins [Joseph Newton Jenkins] is ill. He's a trustee of Bishop and need a young man to carry on during his illness, could you do that?" I said, "Yeah." So I went down there for about a month and he died so I became the elected pastor of the church, the youngest pastor they ever had.$$Of what church is this?$$Ebenezer [Ebenezer Baptist Church, Austin, Texas], not Ebenezer, New Hope [New Hope Baptist Church, Waco, Texas], the oldest, started church 1866. The president [Rufus Columbus Burleson] of Baylor [Baylor University, Waco, Texas] and the pastor [S.G. O'Bryan] of First Baptist Church [Waco, Texas], helped organize that church back in 1866. And so, Texas history has a prominent place in it because of the relationship and I got started. Sam Houston, one of the fathers of the state, was pastor. No, he got baptized by the president of Baylor who was the, so it's rich in history and I stayed there eighteen years. I was the youngest pastor, as I said earlier, at the church it is.$It's a long, it's a long story, you know, but we worked together and we trusted each other, we didn't misrepresent each other and we got through and so I consider, consider Waco [Texas] one of the better--well, they called me the other week about Zilker Park [Zilker Metropolitan Park, Austin, Texas]. The Zilker Park in Waco is Cameron Park, beautiful park, but blacks couldn't go in there, in there. And so, I decided to have a picnic there, a church picnic there. Some of our people were afraid to go to the picnic and no, and after we told them it was open. I guess some of them were thinking, they couldn't carry themselves sit in there and play and rest, a picnic in that park but some people did and they were doing it when I left. What I, we often did, I discovered it when we had a meeting with the leaders and told them what our position was, they agreed with it so it was not like Selma, Alabama. Everybody's not, they were a different type of white person and whenever we laid down over what we thought should be, most of the time they agreed. To illustrate that, we had a housing program. Most of the housing you get in the community comes through the federal government but we had nobody on the board. I talked to the head person about it, "We ought to have a black person on the board." "No, you don't need no black person. We know what you all need, you don't need that." So I went to, to Washington [D.C.] and I went to Washington and I saw some of the records they had in the housing that, over there and the leaders of the city told, said the right things and they done the right thing so you, you can't have a fight unless you've got two people who want to fight. So we worked out every, every matter that I know, that we had. When we came together and sat down, we, Baylor [Baylor University, Waco, Texas] was integrated, the lady who was the first woman on the faculty [Vivienne Malone Mayes], she had a Ph.D. in math, was a member of my church [New Hope Baptist Church, Waco, Texas] and, you know, now when I came to Austin [Texas] I wanted to go over to Baylor and take, just audit the class in Greek and not be enrolled, just let me sit in the class and the professor said, no, and he did it in such a disposition that you, was nasty in the way he said, no. One student followed me out of the class and apologized for the professor but that's the, that's a minor incident compared to the problems we undertook to solve during the time we were there.