Head of Southern Christian Leadership Conference dies

August 1, 2011

(RNS) The Rev. Howard Creecy Jr., a Baptist preacher chosen early this
year as the new president of the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference, died suddenly Thursday (July 28) at the age of 57.

His death means the civil rights organization founded by the late
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. will go through another unexpected
transition. Creecy became president after the Rev. Bernice King, the
founder's daughter, decided in January not to assume the presidency,
citing a leadership clash.

SCLC leaders expressed shock at Creecy's death of a suspected heart
attack but vowed to continue the work he started.

"He was a strong leader but he has laid the groundwork for us to
move forward in a way that we probably haven't been able to in the
past," said Damien Conners, program director of the Atlanta-based
organization.

Conners said the SCLC will sponsor a Washington event on jobs and
political advocacy -- timed to the late August dedication of the Martin
Luther King Jr. Memorial -- and a fall campaign on college campuses to
boost funding of education.//
Isaac Newton Farris Jr., King's nephew, will become interim
president.

In a statement, Farris credited Creecy with revitalizing the SCLC,
calling him "a prophetic leader who deeply inspired me along with
countless others across this great nation and world."

Creecy, a third-generation preacher, was pastor of The Olivet Church
in the Atlanta suburb of Fayetteville, Ga. The Rev. Carroll Baltimore,
president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, called Creecy
"one of PNBC's greatest pastors."