A. Knighton Stanley, influential pastor and civil rights activist, dies at 76 | The Journal Gazette: A. Knighton Stanley, a civil rights leader who helped bring Jesse Jackson to prominence as an activist in the 1960s and who became a political force in Washington as pastor of Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ for nearly 40 years, died Sept. 21 at a hospital in Atlanta. He was 76.
The cause was a heart attack, said his daughter Kathryn Stanley.
The son of a congregationalist minister, A. Knighton Stanley graduated from Yale Divinity School in 1962 and then returned with urgency to his home town of Greensboro, N.C., amid growing tensions over civil rights protests. “Here I am in the nice beautiful North, and my people are fighting this revolution,” Stanley later recalled.
The city had drawn national attention in 1960 when students at the city’s historically black colleges led sit-ins at Woolworth’s because they had been denied service on the basis of their race. But when the community did nothing more to integrate many of its theaters, emporiums and other public accommodations, the pickets and protests continued afresh.