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2011 – Reverend Samuel “Billy” Kyles

Rev. Samuel "Billy" Kyles

2011 – Reverend

Samuel “Billy” Kyles

Reverend Kyles is the longtime pastor of the Monumental Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn., and the man who persuaded King to come to Memphis in support of striking sanitation workers in April 1968.

A longtime activist, he was involved in the integration of the city’s school system, restaurants, buses and other public accommodations. Kyles worked with King to support the sanitation workers’ strike, spending the last hour of King’s life with him and witnessing his assassination. Kyles is a member of the National Civil Rights Museum board of directors and the Tennessee Human Rights Commission.