Samuel B. McKinney grew up in Cleveland, OH in the 1920s and 1930s as the son of a prominent and politically engaged black minister. He attended Morehouse college, where was a classmate of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. After serving as a minister in Providence, RI in the mid 1950s, McKinney moved to Seattle in 1958 to lead one of Seattle’s oldest and most prominent black churches, Mt. Zion Baptist Church. McKinney quickly became a leader in the “movement for human rights,” which included playing a major role in the Central Area Civil Rights Committee (CACRC). McKinney retired from Mt. Zion in 1998, after serving its congregation for 40 years. But in 2005, he returned to once again lead the church that has been so intrumental in Seattle’s civil rights struggles. For more information, see the following historylink.org articles:Rev. Samuel B. McKinney and Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Martin Luther King Jr.’s visit to Seattle
In 1961, Reverend McKinney invited his friend Dr Martin Luther King to come to Seattle. The visit proved to be much more controversial than expected. In a videotaped interview conducted by Trevor Griffey and Brooke Clark on March 16, 2005, Rev. McKinney shared memories of his own experiences and of Dr. King’s historic visit. To the right are streaming-video excerpts of the interview.
Rev. McKinney uses bullhorn to address crowd during 1963 Anti-Segregation protest at Seattle Municipal building. Mayor Gordon Clinton, Rev. Mance Jackson, and unidentified boy listen.
Rev. McKinney probably 1958. Both photos courtesy Museum of History and Industry.