Reverend Frank McRae | Facing History & Ourselves

Reverend Frank McRae

Learn about Reverend Frank McRae, the minister of St. John's United Methodist Church from 1976 to 1995.
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At a Glance

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English — US


  • Social Studies
  • Human & Civil Rights

Reverend Frank McRae

Reverend Frank McRae

"Getting Proximate"

Reverend Frank McRae was the minister of St. John’s United Methodist Church from 1976 - 1995. He was active in the Civil Rights struggle, building allies between a predominantly white southern church and civil rights advocacy, which was controversial during the time period. During his five decades of preaching social gospel, he inspired the establishment of the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association, the Church Health Center, Friends for Life, and other faith-based social agencies that transformed urban ministry in Memphis. Reverend McRae transformed his love for humanity into intentional action, even when it was unpopular or uncomfortable.

In his most famous sermon, “The Queen is Dead,” Reverend McRae said we must be willing to give up some of our comforts and make sacrifices for social justice. “We will have to spend more time with strangers than with friends.” His activism was inspired by his faith and influenced his willingness to get proximate with the issues and people for which he was an advocate.

For more information on Reverend Frank McRae, visit Rhodes College Crossroads to Freedom Digital Archive or visit the Reverend Frank Lewis McRae Collection at the Memphis Public Library and Information Center to read the full version of “The Queen is Dead” sermon.

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