- LCNAF no2012042284
Claude William Black, Jr. (November 28, 1916- March 13, 2009) was one of San Antonio’s most indefatigable advocates for the equal rights of African Americans. He graduated in 1937 from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, and earned a Master Of Divinity degree at Andover Newton Theological School, Newton, MA, in 1943. He attended Trinity University in the early 1970s in order to complete graduate coursework in the Urban Studies department. Records documenting the following aspects of Reverend Black's life are included in the collection.
Ministry: In 1949, Reverend Black became pastor of the Mount Zion First Baptist Church, and served there for 49 years until 1998, after which he continued as Pastor Emeritus. He returned as interim pastor from 2005-2008. He created service organizations for the elderly, the poor, and the hungry, and started the first African American, church-owned credit union, Mount Zion Federal Credit Union. In the 1950s and 1960s, Reverend Black and other African American community members staged peaceful, civil rights protests that led to integration of lunch counters at local motels and at Joske's Department Store, theaters, parks and other public spaces. Reverend Black belonged to multiple religious organizations, such as the San Antonio Council of Churches and the San Antonio Ministers Association. One of these, the Baptist Ministers Union, was very active in church-related civil rights actions, one of which the scrapbook about the Billy Graham Evangelistic Rally (July 25, 1958) fully documents.
Politics: From 1973—1977, Black was elected City Councilman for the City of San Antonio and was appointed as the first African American Mayor Pro Tem. He was invited by President Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1966 to participate in the White House Conference on Civil Rights and by President William Jefferson Clinton in 1995 to participate in the White House Conference on Aging. The scrapbooks in the collection are especially focused on Reverend Black's political campaigns and concerns.
Community: Black served on boards and committees with numerous community organizations, particularly those that would benefit the traditionally African American East side of the city. He was often invited to speak at civic and ceremonial events, as can be seen through the letters of invitation in the correspondence and letters section. Reverend Black received certificates and proclamations in his honor throughout his life that acknowledge his prolific activity.