Ben Hill

Rev. Ben Hill

February is Black History Month, and the Tulsa World will be publishing stories and daily facts throughout the month.

When the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in Tulsa in 1960, the honor of introducing him fell to the Rev. Ben Hill.

It would’ve been hard to find a more fitting choice.

With his tenure as pastor at Vernon A.M.E. Church coinciding with the rise of the civil rights movement nationally, Hill assumed a leading role in how it played out in Tulsa.

Promoting nonviolence to help bring change, he also called for unity, joining with black and white ministers and educators for joint worship services and public marches.

Hill later turned to politics, leaving his pulpit in 1968 to win a seat in the state House of Representatives. He was in his second term when he died in 1971.

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