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Fri, 01.02.1863

A. D. Williams, Minister born

Rev. A. d. Williams

*On this date in 1863 A. D. Williams was born.  He was a Black minister, civil rights activist. 

From Greene County, Georgia, Adam Daniel Williams was the son of a slave preacher Willis and his wife Lucretia Williams. He celebrated his birthday on the day after the effective date of the Emancipation Proclamation. He spent his childhood on the Williams plantation. After the death of his father in 1874, Williams and his family moved from the Williams plantation to nearby Scull Shoals, a rural community on the Oconee River. Williams desire to follow his father, a slave preacher into the ministry was evident even as a child, when it was his greatest pleasure to preach the funeral of snakes, cats, dogs, horses or anything that died.  

He was the grandfather of Martin Luther King Jr., and was taught by several ministers in the community, he earned his license to preach in April 1888. During the late 1880s and early 1890s, Williams tried to make a living as an itinerant preacher while supplementing his income with other work. An injury in a sawmill accident left him with only the nub of a thumb on his right hand. Seeking better opportunities elsewhere, Williams joined the Black exodus from Greene County. In January 1893, he left for Atlanta, where he was called to as second pastor of Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church.  

As a minister Williams was one of the pioneers of a distinctive Black form of the social gospel, endorsing a strategy that combined elements of Booker T. Washington's emphasis on Black business development and W. E. B. DuBois's call for civil rights activism. Early in 1917, Williams became involved in an effort to organize a local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and was its president.  Rev. A. D. Williams was a proud positive-thinking man of God who spent his entire life fighting against injustice and racism. He also was a hardworking, self-made man, who was a loving and dedicated husband and father.

Throughout his life Williams tried to protect his family from the cruelties he had experienced because of racism. Later living in Atlanta helped to make this possible to some degree. Rev. A. D. Williams continued to pastor Ebenezer until his sudden death on March 21, 1931 in Atlanta from a heart attack while playing with his granddaughter Christine, Martin Luther King, Jr's sister.  

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