REMEMBERING REV. DR. SAMUEL B. McKINNEY; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 73
(Senate - May 07, 2018)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Page S2529]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I come to the floor to pay tribute to 
Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney, a civil rights icon from the Pacific 
  In August of 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr., inspired the Nation from 
the steps of the Lincoln Memorial here in Washington, DC, boldly 
proclaiming: ``Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of 
God's children.''
  Meanwhile, in the basement of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Seattle, 
WA, Dr. Samuel McKinney was already taking up that cause. He stood 
before his fellow religious leaders--pastors, rabbis, and priests--and 
asked them to join him in the struggle for equality and justice for 
  For more than 40 years, he never gave up the fight, advocating for 
economic and social justice in Seattle, WA, and throughout our Nation. 
Refusing to yield to deep-seated prejudice and threats of violence, he 
became known as a visionary civil rights leader, a pillar of Seattle 
civic life, and a moral consciousness of our community.
  Tomorrow, many Washingtonians will come together to celebrate Dr. 
McKinney's life--to remember his wisdom, his advocacy, his deep and 
unshakeable belief in justice, his steadfast commitment to his 
community and his church, his service to our Nation in the U.S. Air 
Force, and his devotion as a husband, father, and friend.
  He was a third-generation Baptist minister. He took up the struggle 
for justice at an early age. He was inspired by the athletic prowess of 
Jesse Owens and Joe Louis and by civil rights leaders of our 
  No influence was more profound than the sermons of his own father. 
The Rev. Dr. Wade McKinney never shrank from an opportunity to use his 
pulpit to fight back against racism and segregation, and decades later, 
from his own pulpit at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Seattle, Dr. Samuel 
McKinney continued his father's efforts. He repeatedly fought back 
against injustice in every form, leading civil rights marches in the 
sixties, protesting school segregation in the seventies, and 
demonstrating against apartheid in the eighties. He led boycotts 
against companies that refused to hire Black workers and developed and 
promoted workforce training programs for people who were struggling to 
find employment. He protested unfair education policies and started an 
accredited preschool and kindergarten program that helped establish the 
first Black-owned bank in Seattle. He served as an original member of 
the Seattle Human Rights Commission, helping to pass our city's first 
Fair Housing Act.
  Through his leadership, Dr. McKinney also brought to the national 
stage the only visit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to Seattle in 
1961, featured in this historic photo. Dr. McKinney also participated 
in the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march in 1965. In 1980, he was 
arrested for speaking against apartheid at the South African consulate 
in Seattle. At 86 years old, Dr. McKinney was still fighting back 
against injustice, speaking at the prayer vigil in Seattle for Trayvon 
  Dr. McKinney's legacy lives on through his courageous actions, his 
visionary leadership, and his quest for justice. But perhaps most of 
all, his legacy lives on through the extraordinary community that he 
built at Mount Zion Baptist Church.
  It was at Mount Zion that he mentored fellow ministers and imparted 
inspirational guidance. It was where he baptized newborns, presided 
over weddings, helped families bury their loved ones, and maintained 
his steadfast commitment to his parishioners.
  At Mount Zion, he raised his two daughters--Dr. Lora-Ellen McKinney 
and Rhoda McKinney-Jones--along with his wife. They made sacrifices for 
the community. She, too, was a savvy businesswoman and a strong 
supporter of education and the arts.
  Under Dr. McKinney's leadership, Mount Zion flourished and tripled 
its membership. His church and its community stand as a true testament 
to Dr. McKinney's life and what it meant in Seattle. Today, it shows 
the enduring faith that drove him in all that he did. Dr. McKinney made 
the fight for justice and equality his lifelong mission.
  Another picture shows him with Jesse Jackson, who I believe also came 
to Seattle at Dr. McKinney's request. Dr. McKinney fought for justice 
in Seattle and helped to impact our Nation. His leadership and 
dedication to the community will be sorely missed. As I said, tomorrow, 
many Washingtonians will be there to commemorate his life, along with 
his daughters and many of his parishioners--people from Mount Zion.
  As we honor and remember Dr. McKinney's lifetime of advocacy, I am 
reminded of a fitting quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: ``The 
ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort 
and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and 
  In good times and through difficult ones, Reverend McKinney stood on 
the side of justice, and for that, all of us in the Pacific Northwest 
are grateful.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.