Emancipation Proclamation Commemoration Keynote Speaker
Rev. William A. Lawson
Founding Pastor, Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church
The Rev. William A. Lawson will be the keynote speaker and deliver the sermon at the closing worship service. His keynote lecture will be on Friday, September 21 at 7:00 pm. The closing worship service will be on Saturday, September 22 at 3:00pm. Both the keynote lecture and the worship service will be in Belin Chapel on the campus of Houston Baptist University.
Rev. Lawson, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, earned a Bachelor of Divinity and Master of Theology Degrees from Central Baptist Theological Seminary. After graduation he came to Houston to serve as Professor of Bible and director of the Baptist Student Union at Texas Southern University. He has received honorary doctorates from Howard Payne University, the University of Houston, and Texas Southern University.
In 1962, Rev. Lawson and his wife Audrey founded Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in their home. In its early years, this church was actively involved in Houston’s civil rights movement and it has since grown to a membership of 8,000. Rev. Lawson is now retired but continues to be involved in advocacy for African Americans, Hispanics, women, and the poor. In 1996, the non-profit advocacy agency WALIPP (William A. Lawson Institute for Peace and Prosperity) was founded in Rev. Lawson’s honor. WALIPP promotes education, housing, and community development for low-income Houstonians.