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Tue, 07.19.1949

Calvin O Butts, Minister, and Educator born

Dr. Calvin O. Butts III

*Calvin O. Butts was born on this date in 1949.  He was a Black pastor, educator, and administrator.

He was born in New York City, his father Calvin O. Butts II was a cook, and his mother worked in the welfare department.  When he was young, the family moved to Queens, where he attended public schools. He graduated from Flushing High School, elected President of the Senior Class of 1967. During the summers, his parents sent him to his grandmothers' homes in rural Georgia, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Morehouse College.

He returned home and earned a Master of Divinity Degree in Church History from Union Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry in Church and Public Policy from Drew University.  Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, is President of the Council of Churches of the City of New York; Chairman of the Board of Managers for the C.T. Walker Housing Corporation; Vice-chair of The Board of Directors of United Way of New York City; member of The Central Park Conservancy Board, and many other committees.  He is the Chairman of the National Affiliate Development Initiative of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (BLCA) and a founding member of the organization's Board of Commissioners.

He has served as President of Africare, an independent organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in rural Africa. He also served as Chairman of the Board for the Harlem Branch YMCA. He has taught Urban Affairs and served as an Adjunct Professor in the African Studies Department at City College of New York. He has also taught Black History at Fordham University.   Dr. Butts is a leader in the fight against Police Brutality in the City of New York and has spearheaded boycotts against other New York institutions for their racist policies and employment discrimination against African American people.  He also led a nationally acclaimed and most effective campaign in eliminating negative billboard advertising in the Central Harlem communities around New York City.

Butts received numerous awards and commendations for his efforts, including Man of the Year, Morehouse College Alumni Association; The Morehouse College Candle Award, The William M. Moss Distinguished Brotherhood Award; The Louise Fisher Morris Humanitarian Award, and more than 300 other awards and commendations. Dr. Butts was a Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Prince Hall Masons, and has received the 33rd and final degree in Masonry.  He has been listed twice as a New York Power Broker and recognized as a Living Treasure by the New York City Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  Dr. Butts has traveled to Africa, Europe, The Middle East, South America, Cuba, and the Caribbean Islands.

Since 1989, he was the pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City and President of the State University of New York College at Old Westbury.  Dr. Butts was one of the founders of the Abyssinian Development Corporation (ADC). This not-for-profit comprehensive community-based organization is responsible for over $300 million in housing and commercial development in Harlem.  Dr. Butts was also instrumental in establishing Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change, a public intermediate and high school under the direction of ADC.

Calvin Butts died on October 28, 2022; he was 73.  He delivered a bi-weekly Sunday radio sermon at 7:00 a.m. on New York’s 98.7 (KISS) FM.  Dr. Butts was married and has three children.



Abyssinian Baptist Church
132 Odell Clark Place
New York, NY 10030
Tel: 212-862-7474

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