The Rev. Dr. C.A.W. Clark Sr., who spent more than half a century preaching from the pulpit of the Good Street Baptist Church, a South Dallas church, died Sunday July 27, 2008. He was 93.  He began his service as pastor of the Good Street Baptist Church in Dallas in 1950. His long and effective tenure saw Good Street rise to nationwide prominence and become major civic destination.  The world has lost a preaching legend in Rev. C.A.W. Clark.  He was revered throughout America as the greatest evangelist and preacher since Charles H. Spurgeon.  Services for Clark will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday August 4, at Good Street Baptist Church, 3110 Bonnie View Road. Dallas, TX 75216.  There will be viewings Saturday and Sunday.  Now he rests in the arms of the “Prince of Peace.”

“He was a master of the pulpit who influenced generations of preachers.”
“This is the passing of an era. We won’t see his likes again,” the Rev. Gerald Britt Jr., vice president for public policy at Central Dallas Ministries.

“He was regarded as one of the great black preachers in the 20th century,” Cleophus LaRue, author of the book The Heart of Black Preaching.

“Before ‘faith-based community development’ became a catchword, they were already doing that,” the Rev. Frederick Haynes of Dallas’ Friendship-West Baptist Church.

Pastor Clark’s favorite quote was: “You can’t ever find a God-sent preacher and an elected politician in the same body. One must tell the truth, the other must lie.”

Date of Birth: December 13, 1914

Date of Passing: July 27, 2008

Laid to rest at: Laurel Land Memorial Park, Plot: Chapel Springs

Pastor’s Church: Good Street Baptist Church

City: Dallas

State: Texas

Country: United States

Association: National Baptist


Born Caesar Arthur Walter Clark on Dec. 13, 1914, in Shreveport, Louisiana., Clark led his first pastorate at the Israelite Baptist Church in Longstreet, LA., at the age of 19.  Growing up, he helped his family on a tenant farm and left school after seventh grade to work the fields full time.  Caesar preached his first sermon in a rural Louisiana church as a teenager. After moving back to Shreveport, he studied religion and English with teachers from a closed black college.  Although he lacked a high school diploma, he was admitted to Bishop College, then continued his education in Marshall, Texas, in 1942. (Bishop later granted him an honorary doctorate, church members have reported.)  Clark began preaching in 1929 and was ordained four years later in 1933.  Clark was a graduate of Bishop College.
In 1950, four years after his college graduation, he came to Dallas.

He joined Good Street Baptist Church in September 1950 and remained there until his death. Good Street became one of Dallas’ first black mega-churches, opening its doors to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1956.  Clark, a friend of King’s father, encouraged the younger King in his work.   Over the years, he built it into a 5,000-member megachurch before that term gained currency. And he made Good Street Baptist an agent for neighborhood change, creating a credit union, low-cost housing, and a community center with day care, along with the legal clinic.

Dr. Clark was active in the Dallas NAACP.  He pushed against the color barrier in Dallas, making two unsuccessful runs for the school board in the late 1950s and serving on a school desegregation committee.  He was the president of the National Baptist Texas State Convention for a stint, and publisher of the National Baptist newspaper for decades.   In the early 80’s, Dr. Clark was featured as one of America’s Best Preachers presented on the cover of Ebony Magazine.

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