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NPR

ROBERT GRAETZ, ONLY WHITE PASTOR TO BACK MONTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT, DIES AT 92. The Lutheran church did not have many ordained African American ministers in 1955, so when a call went out that year for a new Lutheran pastor to serve a majority Black congregation in Montgomery, Ala., it was answered by a white clergyman in Ohio, the Rev. Robert Graetz.

Graetz and his wife, Jeannie, already had a record of church-based civil rights activism, and some Lutheran authorities worried that Graetz might become ensnarled in the developing racial unrest in Montgomery, where the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a pastor.

“He had to promise he would not start trouble,” Jeannie Graetz recalled in a 2019 interview with NPR. “Well, he did not start the trouble. He just joined the trouble.” …

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