513-281-5945 • Sunday Worship: 11:00am – 12:00pm

Rev. Robert Graetz

May 16, 1928 – September 20, 2020

Lutheran Clergyman and Civil Rights Leader

Rev. Robert Graetz’s first full-time job as pastor was to a Black congregation, Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Montgomery. He began working there in 1955, the year of the Montgomery bus boycott. A personal friend and neighbor of Rosa Parks, Graetz became secretary of the Montgomery Improvement Association, the organization founded to organize and support the boycott. He was its sole white board member and the only white clergyman in Montgomery to vocally support the boycott. He and his family were often targeted for harassment, surveillance, tire slashings, and in early 1957 their home was firebombed by the KKK. He later founded the Graetz Symposium, an annual conference, in partnership with The National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African American Culture.

“Today, we honor the life and legacy of Rev. Robert Graetz and his lifelong selflessness and his constant fight for a better future for everyone. May we continue to follow his example.” - statement from Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum

Submitted by our members in 2020.