ALBANY, GA (WALB) - People around the country mourned the death of the longest-serving pastor in Georgia, and a civil rights leader who helped the Albany Movement get off the ground.
Reverend Boyd died Saturday at the age of 89. He served as a pastor for more than 70-years, the last 57 of those years at Albany's Shiloh Baptist Church.
In 1961, Reverend Horace Boyd became a leader of the Albany movement when opened up his church for mass meetings led by Martin Luther King, Junior.
Folks would meet at Shiloh Baptist Church before marching through the streets for justice. Boyd was the pastor of the church since 1959.
"He loved Shiloh. he loved each member of Shiloh. All of us loved Rev. Boyd," said Shiloh Baptist Church's Deacon James Robinson.
Robinson said Boyd was a father figure to him and was dedicated to improving the church.
"Members have been calling they are all concerned. Friends have been calling they are concerned. All over the state of Georgia," said Robinson.
But his stewardship went beyond the Shiloh pulpit. He participated in religious activities throughout Dougherty County and the state and will be remembered as a Civil Rights icon.
"It was at the Shiloh Baptist Church where Albany movement had its birth," said Albany Civil Rights Institute Executive Director Frank Wilson.
Wilson said the Albany Movement wouldn't have gained traction if Boyd had not opened Shiloh's doors to civil rights activists.
"He was just a great inspiration to those who were apart of the movement because he led fiercely," said Wilson.
Footprints on the sidewalk near the church showed the path the marches took when they left the church.
"The list goes on with all things that came about as a result of the Albany movement certainly with the start at Shiloh Baptist Church, you would have to give a lot of that credit to his opening doors to have those mass meetings," said Wilson.
Family and friends requested prayers from the community.
The funeral service for Rev. Boyd will be Saturday at 10 A-M at Mt. Zion Baptist Church.