E. E. Cleveland
Edward Earl Cleveland (1921-2009) reportedly preached his first sermon at the age of nine and as an Adventist minister baptized more than 16,000 people into the Christian faith. Cleveland was an eloquent writer and life-long civil rights activist who fought vigorously for racial justice both in words and in actions. During his tent meetings in Alabama in 1954, he incurred the wrath of local authorities and faced police harassment and intimidation for urging defiance of local laws prohibiting whites and blacks from congregating together. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks attended Cleveland’s sermons in Montgomery. He joined King in the first March on Washington and was a member of the Organizing Committee of the Poor People's Campaign in 1968. Cleveland started a chapter of the NAACP at Oakwood College and helped to lead the Flying Squad, a group of Adventists that in the 1970s investigated racial injustice and discrimination in the church.