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Reverend Cecil Williams

Religious leader Reverend Cecil Williams was born on September 22, 1929 in San Angelo, Texas. Williams earned his B.A. degree in sociology from Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas in 1952, and graduated from the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas in 1956, where he was among the first five African Americans to graduate from Perkins School of Theology.

He served as a pastor in Hobbs, New Mexico, and in Kansas City, Missouri until 1963, and accepted a position as pastor at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, California. In 1964, Williams, Phyllis Lyon, and Del Martin founded the Council on Religion and the Homosexual. In addition to providing the LGBTQ community a safe place at Glide, Williams protested the de facto segregation of San Francisco public schools, hosted events for the Black Panther Party, supported Angela Davis by hosting “Free Angela Davis” rallies, and demanded investigations of police brutality against African Americans in the Bay Area. He created Citizens Alert, a community group investigating allegations of police intimidation and brutality against people of color and the gay community. Williams grew the congregation to 10,000 members and in 2000, he retired as pastor at Glide Memorial, but remained central to church operations as the Minister of Liberation and CEO of the Glide Foundation.

At the request of Coretta Scott King, Williams became the chairman of the Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Observance Committee in 1986. In 2008, Williams was the recipient of the National Caring Award presented by the Caring Institute in Washington, D.C. In August 2013, the intersection where Glide Memorial Church was renamed “Rev. Cecil Williams Way” in his honor. Williams and wife, Janice Mirikitani, appeared as extras in the 2006 film The Pursuit of Happyness and he was also featured in the PBS documentary series This Far by Faith. Williams authored two books; I’m Alive: An Autobiography published in 1980, and collaborated with his wife to publish Beyond the Possible in 2013.

Williams has two children from his first marriage, Albert and Kim.

Revered Cecil Williams was interviewed by TheHistoryMakers on December 1, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.211

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/1/2017

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Huston-Tillotson University

Perkins School of Theology

First Name

Cecil

Birth City, State, Country

San Angelo

HM ID

WIL81

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

I'm Old Enough To Be Young And Young Enough To Be Old.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

9/22/1929

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Religious leader Reverend Cecil Williams (1929-) was a pastor at the Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, California for more than forty years. He was also the founder and CEO of the Glide Foundation.

Employment

Glide UMC

St. James UMC

Hobbs New Mexico

Houston-Tillotson

Favorite Color

Blue

Reverend Zan Wesley Holmes

Religious leader Reverend Zan Wesley Holmes was born on February 1, 1935 in San Angelo, Texas. He graduated from L.C. Anderson High School in Austin, Texas, and received his B.A. degree from Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas in 1956, and both his B.Div. degree in 1959, and his S.T.M. degree in 1968, from the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

In 1958, Holmes was pastor of the Hamilton Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. He served for ten years; and, in 1968, he became United Methodist district superintendent of the North Texas Conference. The same year, he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives for Dallas County’s Fifth District. In 1971, Judge William Taylor of the United States Court for the Northern District of Texas appointed Holmes to serve as chairperson of the Tri-Ethnic Committee, which oversaw the implementation of public school desegregation in the Dallas Independent School District. In 1979, he became senior pastor at St. Luke Community United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas and served until 2002. In 1991, he published Reaching for Revival and the following year Encountering Jesus. His other publications include; When Trouble Comes, and chapters in Our Time under God is Now and Power in the Pulpit: How America’s Most Effective Black Preachers Prepare their Sermons.

In 1991, Governor Ann Richards appointed him to be the first African American to serve on the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System, a position he held from 1991 to 1997. Holmes was active in numerous community organizations including the Society for the Study of Black Religion, the American Academy of Homiletics and Black Methodists for Church Renewal. He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and an active lifetime member of the NAACP, and founding president of the Dallas African American Pastors Coalition, and past president of The Greater Dallas Community of Churches. He served on the board of directors for the State Fair of Texas and Northpark National Bank.

In 2001, he was recognized as one of the Civil Rights Movement’s “Invisible Giants” in the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute in Selma, Alabama. In 2012, the Dallas Independent School District named the Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. Middle School in his honor. In November, 2014, Southern Methodist University honored him as a Centennial History Maker during its Distinguished Alumni Award dinner. Holmes also holds honorary degrees from Huston-Tillotson University, Dillard University, and Rust College.

Reverend Zan Wesley Holmes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 14, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.175

Sex

Male

Interview Date

09/14/2017

Last Name

Holmes

Maker Category
Middle Name

Wesley

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

L.C. Anderson High School

Perkins School of Theology

First Name

Zan

Birth City, State, Country

San Angelo

HM ID

HOL21

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Los Angeles

Favorite Quote

God does not bless us for nothing, god blesses us so we can be a blessing to others.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

2/1/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Religious leader Reverend Zan Wesley Holmes (1935 - ) was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1968 and served as senior pastor of St. Luke Community United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas for twenty-nine years.

Favorite Color

Blue