The Rev. Cameron Madison Alexander, who spent more than four decades in the pulpit of Atlanta’s Antioch Baptist Church North, has died.
He was 86.
His daughter, Maria Hunter, confirmed his death after a brief illness.
“He was the most loving, caring and dedicated,” she said. “He loved the Lord and spent his entire life making sure that others knew Him and salvation.”
“He was more than a pastor to me,” said Atlanta poet Hank Stewart, who has been a member of Antioch for more than three decades. “He was like a father to me and so many other people. Part of the reason I do poetry is because it was a gift from God, but secondly, because my pastor encouraged me to get out there and give it my best. Instead of aborting my dream, he fertilized it.”
According to the historic African-American church’s website, Alexander became pastor in 1969. While on vacation in Atlanta, his father — at the request of a member of Antioch — asked the younger Alexander to fill in one Sunday while the church prepared to vote on a new pastor.
After preaching “A Man Is in Town,” the church offered him the position on a write-in vote.
At the time, Antioch had only 600 members, today it has about 14,000.
Alexander was also a prominent community leader. He helped lead a bus boycott that integrated the Bibb County transit system during his pastorate in Macon. And, while a pastor in Savannah, he formed a partnership with C&S Bank President Mills B. Lane to improve 109 blocks of real estate in Savannah.
Alexander was born in Atlanta, “a Grady baby.” He graduated from Booker T. Washington High School and attended Florida A&M University , where he was a member of the “Marching 100.” He later earned a degree from Morehouse College.
Antioch had its beginnings as a “prayer band” in a butcher shop on Marietta Street by eight former slaves calling themselves the “Bethursday group.” Its founding pastor promised the church would be a “light in darkness.”
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