By Special to the Daily World
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) mourns the loss of the revered and dynamic new President Rev. Dr. Howard W. Creecy Jr., who passed at the age of 57.
Creecy, a third-generation preacher at The Olivet Church in Fayetteville, a civil-rights activist and father of two, passed at approximately 12:30 a.m. in his home. Though the cause of his death was not immediately known, family members suspect a heart attack and an autopsy has been commissioned.
“We thank the community for the outpouring of compassion and condolences during this difficult time,” his wife, Yolanda Grier Creecy, and his family said.
Isaac Newton Farris Jr., the nephew of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., assumes the role of interim president of SCLC and promised to continue the late Creecy’s legacy.
“We are shocked,” Farris said. “As far as I knew, Howard was in great health. He has been my lifelong friend; this news hits me at my core. Howard has been a prophetic leader who deeply inspired me along with countless others across this great nation and world. From his inspired leadership, which revitalized the SCLC, we will work to continue on the path that he and leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. lay before us.”
Marian Parker, SCLC executive director said, “Dr. Creecy and I came into SCLC together. Our charge was to transform and rebrand this organization. That was our mantra; that was our mission and we will continue it.”
The national NAACP also mourns the loss of Rev. Dr. Howard Creecy Jr., describing him as a lifelong civil rights activist.
“It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of the civil rights hero Rev. Dr. Howard Creecy, Jr.,” said NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “Rev. Creecy took the lessons he learned from his faith and applied them to the very earthly matters of civil rights and political progress. He was a fearless leader who leaves a legacy that will not soon be forgotten.”
Creecy was elected SCLC president in January 2011 after a long career as pastor of The Olivet Church in Fayetteville. In the past he had served as interim president of the influential civil rights organization, which was founded in 1957 by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Rev. Dr. Creecy was a strong advocate for social justice in every aspect of his life,” said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “As president of the SCLC he encouraged youth to raise the mantle of progress; as a lifelong pastor he taught his congregations the importance of community engagement; and as a member of the NAACP, he was a personal ally in the fight for justice.”
Creecy was a graduate of Morehouse College and earned a doctor of divinity degree from Abotra Bible Institute and Seminary. He is survived by his wife, Yolanda Grier Creecy, and two children. A third-generation preacher, he had previously served as senior pastor of Saint Peter Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta for 26 years.
Also, the Rev. Dr. R. L. White, president of the Atlanta Branch, said the passing of Dr. Creecy is a tragedy