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91. Billy Graham: Evangelist and Civil Rights Advocate
William Franklin "Billy" Graham Jr. is an American
, who is an ordained Baptist minister, and celebrity.
is one of the first televangelists because of
extensive use of television to spread the word
god throughout the world. He rose to celebrity
in 1949 by reaching out to the middle-class
American population through radio, then television. It is
that Graham's sermons have reached a total of
than 2.2 billion people worldwide. He is credited
converting more than 3.2 million Americans to Christianity
Born on November 7, 1918, Graham
up in a dairy farm near Charlotte, North
. His parents were of Scottish descent, and were
Presbyterians. Graham's education included attending several colleges before
on what is now Trinity College in Florida.
was there that Graham heard the calling of
Christ, and began devoting his life to spreading
word of god.
Graham served as spiritual advisor
several presidents, including, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon,
Lyndon Johnson. He was a friend to Dr.
Luther King Jr. whom he invited on more
one occasion to preach at his ministries. He
bailed King out of jail after the civil
leader was jailed for participating in a peaceful
One of Graham's most powerful tools was his
. He began staging evangelical events at arenas and
to spread the word of god. He was
of the first preachers to invite black clergymen
participate in his crusades. He was also a
of integration. In one famous incident, Graham went
the audience to remove barriers that were set-up
segregate blacks from whites. He told the organizers
they either remove the barriers, or they can
their event without him. Graham was a man
high moral character.