Cobb Civil Rights Leader Dies

Rev. Dwight Graves, president of the Cobb Southern Christian Leadership Conference, died this morning.

Cobb County lost a civil rights and spiritual leader this morning.

Rev. Dwight Graves, chairman of the Cobb Southern Christian Leadership Conference and pastor of Emmanuel Tabernacle Christian Church in Marietta, died at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital. SCLC members put his time of death at approximately 7 a.m.

None of the members who spoke to South Cobb Patch were aware of the cause of Graves' death.

According to his biography on the website of Emmanuel Tabernacle Christian Church, Graves, who turned 64 on Dec. 14, was born in Freeman, WV. He was the third child of Sherman and Estella Graves. Growing up, he was active in his local church, Bluestone Baptist Church and assisted his father with various community, political and civil rights endeavors.

He majored in secondary education at Bluefield State College in Bluefield, WV before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force on April 4, 1968.

Graves retired 32 years later as a Senior Master Sergeant with many awards and decorations.

In addition to serving as the chairman of the Cobb SCLC, Graves was a SCLC officer for the state of Georgia.

He was also a member of Prince Hall Masons, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, CASA Board, Kellogg Board (Kennesaw Village), Cobb County Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, Cobb County Coalition for Social Change and Interdenominational Theological Center Trustee Board, African American Unity Summit, VOICE and NAACP.

Graves first served as pastor of a church in Florennes, Belgium from l987 to l989. He then served as assistant pastor and director of outreach at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Lebanon, IL from l989 to l992. Next, he was named associate minister of Zion Baptist Church in Marietta from l992 to 1997 before becoming pastor of Emmanuel.

Survivors include his college sweetheart and wife of almost 40 years, the former Cheryl D. Branham of Philadelphia, and their daughter, Diana Lynette.

“He was just a caring person. That’s what I’ll remember most about him,” said Curtis Fitts, youth coordinator for Cobb SCLC and a member of Emmanuel Tabernacle Christian Church. “He cared about everybody and he was a fighter for everybody."

Rev. Lionel R. Gantt January 11, 2012 at 06:51 AM
My heart go out to the family, Dr. Graves and my lil sister in the Lord Diana both who I love very much, heartfelt wishes in this hour. Rev Graves was a mentor to me, a leader, Pastor and a good friend. I thank God for the time we had together, He will not be missed as his life greatly impacted the life of anyone who came into his life. I thank God for Rev Graves and I thank God for Dr. Graves his loving wife, may God be with us here now and forever more. Welcome Home Good and faithful servant.
Minister Alicia Smith January 11, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Minister Alicia Smith 2:44 PM on Wednesday January 11, 2012 We have lost a great leader and a very kind humantarian, who cared for many individuals everywhere! I have known Pastor Graves and Dr. Cheryl Graves for over 13 years. They are wonderful close friends of mine, what a great mentor he was. He will never ever be forgotten! What a foot soldier he was, he stood up and was a mighty voice for so many without a voice, touching lives and impacting and making a difference throughout Cobb County, Ga. and other places. Dianna, Dr. Cheryl, & Wanda and the entire West Virginia Graves family you'll are in our prayers. He is in a place where there is peace and joy, he served well with all honors! Welcome to Glory my friend!
danny toliver January 16, 2012 at 06:34 AM
RIP my military brother. It was nice working with you in Florennes Beligum. toliverd@yahoo.com
Arthur L.Goff January 17, 2012 at 06:55 AM
When I had problems with the racist school system in Cobb County as a N.E.A. Director at Large I could always depend on the support of Rev.Graves to support "Educator's" in Cobb. He always jumped to the task to help improve the system in Cobb. Even I'm in Washington,D.C. he made sure that he stpped in to say hello, He was a Friend, Friend! Office Of The Govenor OF the State Of Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley Commission ON Suicide Prevention Arthur L.Goff 240-585-0678
HC Buch January 17, 2012 at 09:23 PM
I loved Pastor Graves, he was the father I never had, the brother I'd love to keep and a friend I always treasured. His smile was unbelievable...it was a smile that lit up the room. He was truly a wonderful, loving and caring human being. I will miss his advice...that smile...that chuckle... his prayers . I can't believe he is gone. I am very sad, but you know, I just know he is smiling in heaven... I just know he is in a better place and will never suffer again. He will always be loved in Heaven and on Earth. Always Pastor Graves...I will miss you always! Love, Helene Buchanan. hcrb@msn.com.


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