LaGRANGE — The senior pastor of historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and a longtime champion of civil rights will be the speaker for LaGrange College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance.
The Rev. Raphael G. Warnock will deliver his address at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at Callaway Auditorium, 801 Dallis St. in LaGrange. The event is free and open to the public.
President Dan McAlexander said the college is committed to hosting civil rights leaders for its MLK Day events.
“We knew we set the bar high with our previous speakers, the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss and Freedom Rider Hank Thomas,” he said. “We are so excited to continue that by presenting Dr. Warnock to not only our campus, but also LaGrange and Troup County.”
Warnock has been senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist since 2005, the youngest person to serve in that position since the church’s founding in 1886.
King considered Ebenezer to be his spiritual home, said Marc Shook, associate provost and dean of student engagement.
“He was baptized there, and both he and his father, Dr. Martin Luther King Sr., were pastors at Ebenezer Baptist,” he said. “Today the church is part of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Site.”
Warnock earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology cum laude from Morehouse College, master’s degrees in divinity and philosophy and a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
His ties to King started early in his career when he served as an intern at the Sixth Avenue Baptist Church of Birmingham, Alabama. He was ordained by the Rev. John T. Porter, who served as King’s pulpit assistant at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery and worked with Martin Luther King Sr. at Ebenezer.
From there, Warnock served as youth pastor and assistant pastor at the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church of New York City. He also was senior pastor at Baltimore’s Douglas Memorial Community Church, known as a spiritual base of social activism.
He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the 100 Black Men of Atlanta, a lifetime member of the NAACP and was chosen to deliver the closing prayer at the 2013 Inaugural Prayer Service held at the National Cathedral.
Warnock has been honored by Ebony magazine, the African American Pulpit journal, Concerned Black Clergy, Gospel Today magazine, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Associated Black Charities, Gospel Choice Awards, Atlanta Business Chronicle, Atlanta Business League, Loop 21 (a division of the Washington Post) and TheRoot.com. He received the Rev. William A. Jones Justice Award from the National Action Network.
He is a National TRIO Achiever Award recipient and has been honored by induction into the Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers.
Warnock has been featured on the CBS Evening News and in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, which hailed him as “a leader among Atlanta – and national – clergy, a fitting heir to the mantle once worn by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”
For more information, contact the Rev. Adam Roberts at 706-880-8004 or [email protected]