Memphis has lost a giant, a trailblazer and a voice for equality in a city that has had its fair share of injustices and inequalities.
I met Reverend Dwight Montgomery during my time at the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO). He was a gentle spirit but one who could captivate an audience as his voice rang loudly from his pulpit every week at Annesdale-Cherokee Baptist Church.
He was one of few pastors in the city of Memphis that made no apologies for his stance on educational choice and for many years was a clear frontrunner on various matters in the city, specifically the black community. As long-time President of the Memphis chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Rev. Montgomery would host rallies, forums, community meetings and public gatherings that allowed individuals to become equipped, empowered and educated about critical current events happening locally, statewide and nationally. Most significantly, he carved out the role of the church in the educational movement. He spoke enthusiastically about why the church needed to be fully involved and why leaders needed to armed with the right information in order for our children to have access to high-quality educational options.
Rightfully well-respected, Rev. Montgomery would always lend his voice to the cause, but also his hands to the efforts. We thank God for the work and obedience of Rev. Montgomery. For joining the fight when it wasn’t popular. We thank God for Rev. Montgomery’s life, his ministry and his tenacity to continue on even when odds were stacked.
He became a key figure in the educational choice movement in the city when people were still trying to figure out what choice was. We can appreciate the efforts Rev. Montgomery. This city is much better because of his presence, his participation and his contribution.
We lost a huge part of the movement, but the movement will continue. As we mourn this loss, we will never forget this engaged and active faith and community leader, advocate and Pastor. Even the more, I am encouraged to continue doing my part and pray that others uphold the legacy of Rev. Montgomery by doing their part as well.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland issued this statement:
“I was saddened to hear this morning of the passing of Rev. Dwight Montgomery. He was instrumental in my administration’s efforts to award grants to our 1968 sanitation workers. And I appreciated his support as we work to move Confederate statues from our city. I will keep his family, friends and congregation lifted in my prayers during their time of grief.”
Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell, Jr. issued this statement:
“Dr. Dwight Montgomery was a servant leader. He inspired me, and so many others, through his work with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Annesdale Cherokee Baptist Church and other community organizations. He will be missed.”
Sen. Lee Harris released the following statement on the death of Rev. Dwight Montgomery:
“Rev. Montgomery leaves behind a lasting legacy and he will be sorely missed by this city. He empowered young people and imparted hope in times of need. We are all better for his example, and his memory will live on for generations to come.”