National Activism

Although San Antonio might initially seem disconnected from the immediacy of the African American struggle that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. faced in Birmingham, Alabama, Rev. Black was keenly aware of San Antonio’s role in the national civil rights movement. For example, listen to Rev. Black's evocative speeches in local marches and rallies embedded in the national civil rights narrative. You can learn more about Rev. Black’s thoughts on national topics such as voting in the African American community and African American involvement in the military. Continue reading to observe some of the correspondance between Rev. Black and national civil rights leaders concerning various controveries.

Rev. Claude Black speaking passionately at his podium in Mt. Zion Baptist Church

We can look beyond his writings as well. Reverend Black was active in the community and unwavering in his commitment to encouraging the local community to contribute to the national civil rights dialogue through marches, rallies, and debate about the controversial intersection of politics and religion. In this section you can see Rev. Black’s correspondence with important civil rights leaders, such as Whitney M Young Jr. and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and how Rev. Black contributed to one of the civil rights movement’s most memorable and iconic events, the March on Washington.

During the first city-sponsored MLK March in San Antonio, a group of children head for the march on a Mt. Zion bus. That year, Rosa Parks spoke at the march as the guest speaker. 

Examining Rev. Black’s thoughts and actions from a national perspective provides us with a glimpse of the passion that Rev. Black brought to the civil rights struggle. Rev. Black was not afraid to think boldly, and his actions and ideas for the African American community shaped both the local and national movement. Reverend Black's response and reactions to national debates offers a more holistic and complex understanding of this man who was instrumental in leading change in San Antonio—not only for the African American community, but for all of the people in this diverse city.

Rev. Claude Black meeting Whitney M. Young Jr., a prominent Civil Rights leader and instrumental in the success of the National Urban League.