Adam Daniel Williams, a senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, founded the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP, setting forth a movement that would one day make history.
Williams served his church for 25 years, and eventually became father-in-law to none other than Martin Luther King, Sr., a man who would continue to lay the groundwork for civil rights. People have recalled a little boy who would climb onto a milk carton and sing in the choir at his dad's church – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today, 50 years after King was assassinated in 1968, the activist spirit that bloomed at Ebenezer Baptist Church carries on thanks to Rev. Raphael Gamaliel Warnock. He's the fifth and youngest senior pastor in the church's history and has led the flock there for 14 years, according to People. He knows he plays an incredibly vital role in making sure King's legacy lives on.
"Martin Luther King Jr. was a spiritual genius, a social change agent and part of the black church tradition," Warnock told People. "I stand in the long legacy of trying to continue that work."
Since he became senior pastor in 2005, the congregation has more than doubled in size and now exceeds 4,000 members. The reverend attributes part of that growth to the church's ability to attract millennials through civic activism. Church leaders recruit even those who "are naturally suspicious of institutions, including the church," he said.