Edward Gardner

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The Reverend Edward Gardner (born 1907 - died November 4, 2006) was pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church, Kingston from 1947 and president of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights from 1968 until his death.

When the ACMHR was founded by Fred Shuttlesworth, Gardner became First Vice President, leading negotiations with city and business leaders, introducing Shuttlesworth at rallies, and working behind the scenes during confrontations with police.

As a leader in the Civil Rights Movement, Gardner lived under constant threats of violence from the Ku Klux Klan. His home was kept under guard every night. He later told interviewers that he had lost his fear during the struggle, taking the threats in stride.

Gardner succeeded Shuttlesworth at the lead of the ACMHR, which gradually took on a merely symbolic role after the passage of the Civil Rights Act and other victories. He continued to preach, even after becoming blind from the effects of glaucoma. He gave his last sermon in August, 2006.

References

  • Garrison, Greg (November 8, 2006) "Civil rights pioneer, 99, was preacher to the end." Birmingham News.