Dr. Samuel Williams
Samuel W. Williams, PHD. Was born in Sparkman, Arkansas but spent most of his formative years in Dermott, Arkansas. His love of God, quest for knowledge and love for his fellow man, particularly those less fortunate, propelled him to life’s stage as a scholar, religious, civic and civil rights advisor.
Dr. Williams obtained degrees from Morehouse College (B.A.); Howard University (B.D. and M.A.); University of Chicago (Ph.D) and Arkansas Baptist College (D.D). He also attended Philander Smith college in Little Rock, Arkansas. Upon completion of his formal education, he returned to Morehouse College in Atlanta as a Professor and Chairman of the Department of Philosophy and Religion from 1947 to 1970. He was an assistant pastor of the Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta for seven years before he became the pastor in 1954. He remained as pastor until his death in 1970.
Among Dr. Williams students at Morehouse College was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He exposed Dr. King to Henry David Thoreau’s “Essay on Civil Disobedience” which emphasized the idea of “refusing to cooperate with an evil system”. Dr. Williams was one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Council; and of the Atlanta Summit Leadership Conference; Chairman of the Atlanta Community Relations Commission; President and member of the Board of Directors of the Year” by the Georgia Region of the National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ) in 1969.
As a civil rights leader, Dr. Williams was among the initiators of civil rights protests in Atlanta, participating in the bus boycott of 1959 and testing in federal court the admissions policies of several colleges. As a scholar and religious leader, he lectured at more than 20 colleges and universities throughout the south and also in Israel.