Black History Month: Celebrating Rev. Hosea Williams


By Marlysa D. Gamblin

A common denominator of good leadership is a commitment to goals. Black History Month is a time to reflect on black leaders who have harnessed their leadership to achieve the goal of ending hunger and poverty in their communities and around the world.

The late Rev. Hosea Williams is one such leader.

As a key member to the Civil Rights Movement, Williams worked behind the scenes with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to organize the demonstrations that led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Passage of that act was an important step toward ending hunger and poverty because it made it illegal to discriminate against people based on race and gender—including in the workplace. More people were able to get good jobs and provide for their families.  

Williams continued to fight against hunger and poverty as an public servant. In 1974, he was elected to the Georgia state senate and served for five terms. Then he was elected to the Atlanta City Council and served for another five terms. During both of his tenures, he focused on hunger, poverty, and civil rights.

In addition to serving as an organizer and an elected official, Williams founded Hosea Feed the Hungry. This nonprofit offers a wide range of programs and services, focusing on such activities as urban agriculture, food scarcity, and rent assistance. Over the past 45 years, the organization has touched more than 560,000 people and has donated billions of dollars for food and medical and educational supplies to people in Georgia, Uganda, the Philippines, and Ivory Coast. Last year alone, Hosea Feed the Hungry served 2,000 children, delivered more than 5,000 meals, and provided other assistance to 1,000 families. In addition, the organization sent 250,000 pounds of drinking water to Flint, Mich., where tap water has been tainted.

Every leadership decision of Williams was guided by his commitment to ending hunger and poverty for God’s people. Join me in celebrating this important leader during Black History Month.

Marlysa D. Gamblin is a domestic advisor for policy and programs for specific populations at Bread for the World Institute.

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