Rev. Dr. Gardner C. Taylor (HUMC 2007)

Gardner Taylor

The Reverend Dr. Gardner C. Taylor was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and received his AB from Louisiana’s Leland College in 1937. After a serious car accident, Dr. Taylor answered the call to the ministry. In 1948, he became pastor of the Concord Baptist Church in the Bedford–Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, NY, and served there until his retirement in 1990. Recognized affectionately as “the dean of the nation’s black preachers,” He was one of the first African Americans elected to the New York City Board of Education in 1958 and the first black and first Baptist president of the New York City Council of Churches. It is reported that Taylor helped to found the Progressive National Baptist Convention, when the National Baptist Convention failed to fully engage in the civil rights movement. Taylor participated in protests with Dr. Martin Luther King, and offered him support through letters of encouragement. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2000, and authored How Shall They Preach? (1977), The Scarlet Thread (1981), and Chariots Aflame (1988).