Taylor, Gardner C.

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Reverend Gardner C. Taylor is a widely acclaimed Baptist minister, recognized as a gifted orator, extraordinary religious leader, inspirational educator, and staunch civil rights activist. In 1979 Time Magazine named him one of the top seven preachers in the U.S. and proclaimed him the "Dean of the nation's black preachers." In 1993 Ebony Magazine named Rev. Taylor as one of the "15 Greatest Black Preachers." He was cited in a 1996 Newsweek Magazine as one of the 12 most effective preachers in the English speaking world. His passion and eloquent phrasing when preaching earned him the title "poet laureate of American Protestantism." He has given sermons and speeches throughout the United States and across the world including Austria, Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, England, Japan, Malawi, South Africa, and Zambia. He is the recipient of over 100 honorary degrees and has lectured and taught at numerous seminaries and divinity schools including Boston, Colgate-Rochester, Duke, Harvard, Howard, Princeton, Shaw, and Yale Universities, Union Theological Seminary and The Interdenominational Theological Center. In January 1993, Rev. Taylor delivered the inaugural sermon at the Prayer Service for President William Jefferson Clinton; and in January 1997 Taylor offered the benediction at President Clinton's second inauguration. August 9, 2000, Rev. Taylor was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. Rev. Taylor served as pastor of the Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York for 42 years until his retirement in 1990. Under his leadership the church membership grew from 5,000 to over 14,000; a new church was constructed at a cost of $1,7,00,00; an elementary school was erected and received full accreditation; a nursing home and a senior residence were built; and a Federal Credit Union and community endowment fund were established. As a religious leader in the civil rights movement Rev. Taylor helped organize and led numerous actions including protests to end housing discrimination in New York City. He was arrested in protests to support minority building trade workers. He was a close friend to, and marched with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.; and he led fundraising efforts in the North to support the civil rights actions in the South that King spearheaded. Issues on church involvement in civil rights actions led to a split within the National Baptist Convention and the formation of the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC). King and Taylor were among the founding members of the PNBC, for which Taylor would later serve as the second president. Rev. Taylor gave his leadership skills and service to other organizations as well. He served on the New York City Council of Churches, where he was the first African American and first Baptist minister to become President of the Council. He was Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Urban League of the City of New Yor; a member of the New York City Board of Education; and a leader of the Democratic Party in Brooklyn. Gardner Taylor has been interviewed countless times for print media, radio, television, film, and church and educational programs. He is the author of numerous articles and several books including How Shall They Preach (1977), The Scarlet Thread (1981), Chariots Aflame (11988), We Have This Ministry (co-author Samuel D. Proctor, 1996),The Words of Gardner Taylor 96 volumes (1999-2002), and Perfecting the Pastor's Art, Wisdom from Avery Lee and Gardner Taylor (2005).

From the description of Gardner C. Taylor collection (Australian National University). WorldCat record id: 701833284

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn J. B. Matthews Papers, 1862-1986 and undated David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
creatorOf Taylor, Gardner C. Gardner C. Taylor collection Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Concord Baptist Church, Brooklyn, NY. corporateBody
associatedWith Matthews, J. B. (Joseph Brown), 1894-1966 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Sermons, American--20th century
Sermons, American--African American authors
African American preaching


Birth 1918-06-18


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SNAC ID: 21117267