Southern Christian Leadership Conference Mourns Loss of the Rev. Dwight Montgomery, Memphis Chapter President
Advocate of high-quality education for poor children
ATLANTA — The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is mourning the loss of the Rev. Dwight Montgomery, influential civil rights activist and former president of its Memphis chapter, who died Wednesday. He was 67.
Dr. Charles Steele, Jr., president and CEO of the SCLC, said that Montgomery dedicated his life to fighting for high quality education for the poor.
“I am deeply saddened by the passing,” said Dr. Steele, who described Montgomery as a friend. “That man was a legend in the state of Tennessee, a popular and powerful figure to be reckoned with. Dr. Montgomery was a big-hearted person, whose legacy will be education.
“He was one of the most loyal presidents under my leadership with the SCLC in the last 14 years that I’ve known him,” Dr. Steele continued. He added that Montgomery’s “priority and calling” was education for the poor.
At a later date, the SCLC will help break ground on a brick and mortar monument to honor the life, legacy and spirit of Montgomery, who pastored Annesdale Cherokee Missionary Baptist Church in South Memphis, Tennessee.
Montgomery was elected president of the SCLC Memphis chapter in 2004. He also had served as the chairman of the Education Committee for the Memphis Baptist Ministerial Association.
Before his death, Montgomery had been working on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign, a plan to unite people of few means, and have them march for better jobs, better homes and better education, Dr. Steele said.
“He was very excited,” Dr. Steele noted.
Montgomery always believed in having a wide variety of educational alternatives available, Dr. Steele said, “because no single, educational approach works for every child.” -more-
“He was a charter school advocate, and was passionate about both public schools and alternative education,” he said. “Traditional schools shouldn’t just be a one-way street.”
Funeral arrangements have not been released.
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ABOUT THE SCLC: Established in 1957, the SCLC, whose first president was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is a now an international organization made up of chapters and affiliates with programs that affect the lives of all Americans: north, south, east, and west. Its sphere of influence and interests has become international in scope because the human rights movement transcends national boundaries. For additional information about the SCLC, visit www.nationalsclc.org.To arrange an interview with Dr. Steele contact Jerry Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org (312) 285-5166, or Maynard Eaton, National Communications Director,(404) 254-8322. email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.