Reverend J. Raymond Henderson personified the tensions within the Los Angeles black community’s struggle for equality during his 1941–1963 tenure as pastor of the Second Baptist Church. While Rev. Henderson advocated the patient cultivation of respectability as a means of winning white acceptance, he also adopted a militant stance toward civil rights as a leader of the local NAACP, associate of more outspoken leaders, and the voice of an internationalist outlook, but a form of militancy that seemed increasingly inadequate by the early '60s.

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