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Tuesday, May 14, 2024

The Rev. William A. Lawson dies at 95


Sad news to report that abc13 KTRK Houston anchor Melanie Lawson's dad, the Reverend William A. Lawson, died this morning at the age of 95.

Known as "Houston’s Pastor," Reverend Lawson founded Houston’s Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church.

"Beyond the walls of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, Lawson has helped change the face of Houston, by leading the battle to desegregate the city," the church published on its website.  "He joined the national civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by setting up a local office of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Dr. King remained a close friend of Lawson’s, until his untimely death."

"Rev. William Lawson is an icon among icons. He is one of the reasons our city is so great. He helped us during civil rights and social justice like probably no other individual in the country because Houston benefited from his leadership and character," said Mayor John Whitmire. "It saddens us, but though God doesn't allow us to choose when we lose a loved one, he does allow us to celebrate their lives. I'm certain all of Houston will celebrate this great man's life in the coming days. Our condolences go to the Lawson and Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church families." 

"Reverend Lawson was a civil rights icon," Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee said in a statement. "He courageously fought for the rights of Black people at a time when doing so could have meant death. He was a world-class mind who for decades used his voice and influence to advocate for oppressed people in Houston, throughout the U.S. and across the globe."

Reverend Lawson retired from preaching in 2004.  His wife, Audrey Lawson, passed away in 2015.


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