Arthur M. Brazier

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Dr. Arthur M. Brazier (July 22, 1921 – October 22, 2010) was an American born activist, author and pastor emeritus of the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, Illinois. He was also a bishop, prominent civic leader and founder of The Woodlawn Organization, which was influential in Chicago's civil rights movement in the 1960s and continues its work to this day.[1]



Brazier was a central figure in driving out gang violence, fighting for affordable housing and revitalizing the surrounding community. He also marched alongside Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to protest segregation.[2]

In addition to The Woodlawn Organization, he also founded The Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corporation as well as The Fund for Community Redevelopment and Revitalization. He has been a national leader in community development. He is the author of Black Self-Determination, Saved by Grace and Grace Alone and Delivery Systems for Model Cities.

A World War II Army Veteran, he left the United States for overseas duty in India and Burma, in 1943, and returned December 24, 1945. He was honorably discharged on December 28, 1945. In July 1947, he met his future wife, Esther Isabelle Holmes, and they were married February 21, 1948.

In 1955, while still being employed by the U. S. Postal Service as a letter carrier, Bishop Brazier enrolled in the Moody Bible Institute evening school to acquire formal systematic biblical training. He pursued these studies continuously for six years and received his graduating certificate in 1961. In 1960 Bishop Brazier was inducted as pastor of Apostolic Church of God. Bishop Brazier also served as diocesan of the Sixth Episcopal District of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World for thirty-one years.

Although Bishop Brazier committed his life to the Christian ministry, he also recognized the need for being actively involved in the civic life of the city.

Bishop Brazier began his community work with the Industrial Areas Foundation under the tutelage of Saul Alinsky and Nicholas Von Hoffman. It was during his work with Saul Alinsky that Bishop Brazier became the founding president of The Woodlawn Organization in 1961. In 1966 Bishop Brazier invited Dr. Martin Luther King to the Apostolic Church of God for its annual Bible Conference; their like passion for civil rights led to the two men protesting, together, against segregated housing and schools in Chicago

In 1969, Bishop Brazier accepted a staff position with the Citizens Crusade Against Poverty, and in 1970, he resigned as President of The Woodlawn Organization.

In addition to his pastoral work, Bishop Brazier joined the staff of the Center for Community Change, a Washington-based institution that gave technical assistance to community organizations in various parts of the country. Bishop Brazier’s office remained in Chicago throughout his work with The Center. After several years of service with The Center, he was elevated to the office of Vice President in charge of Major Projects, and remained in that position until 1986 when he resigned to spend more time with his church, which was experiencing tremendous growth.

As Vice President of the Center, he supervised the Major Projects Unit which gave technical assistance to Community Organizations and Community Development Corporations in the design and implementation of commercial and revitalization programs, and in the packaging and development of major housing projects that received some form of government assistance under Sections 221 (D)(3), 236 and Section 8. The staff developed land use maps and building condition maps that would be used in determining development plans and programs. He assisted in negotiating joint venture relationships between the nonprofit organizations and proven developers. Some of the cities that the staff worked in were: Chicago, Illinois; Evanston, Illinois; Flint, Michigan; Detroit, Michigan; Las Vegas, Nevada; New York City, Los Angeles, California, and others.

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