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Rev. Dr. Cecil Murray
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 26 April 2024

cecil murray medThe Rev. Cecil Murray Sr., of the First African Methodist Episcopal, preaches to his congregation, Sunday, Dec. 20, 1998, in Los Angeles. Murray, an influential pastor and civil rights leader who gained international attention for his efforts to help Los Angeles recover from one of the country's worst race riots, died Friday, April 5, 2024. He was 94. (AP Photo/William Wilson Lewis III, File)Murray, who presided over Los Angeles’s oldest African American congregation, First African Methodist Episcopal Church for nearly three decades, helped calm emotions during the 1992 L.A. unrest and  later channeled jobs, housing  and millions of dollars for economic development into the then-struggling mostly, African American and Latino surrounding communities.

Murray, in 1948 entered Beta Nu Chapter at Florida A&M University, where he received a degree in history and later embarked on an air force career. Three years later, he attended theology school at the School of Theology at Claremont College and received a doctorate in religion in 1964. Afterwards, he served as a pastor in Pomona, California, Kansas City, Kansas and Seattle, Washington before moving to his assignment at First AME in 1977. After his tenure at First AME, he served as the John R. Tansey Chair of Christian Ethics at the University of Southern California and chair of the Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement from 2005 through 2022. He was a member of the Beta Psi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. in Los Angeles.

“Brother Rev. Dr. Cecil Murray was a giant among the South Los Angeles community and dedicated his life to service and advocacy,” said Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity Inc. General President Dr. Willis L. Lonzer, III. “The Fraternity offers its deepest condolences to the family of Rev. Dr. Murray, and we hope they find solace in that we mourn with them, and that they are not alone.”

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