Friday, February 11, 2011

The Death of Joliet Civil Rights Leader The Rev. Dr. Isaac Singleton

The Rev. Dr. Isaac Singleton--who served as pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Joliet for over 40 years and was currently serving as pastor emeritus at Mt. Zion--passed away February 10, 2011.   Funeral arrangements are pending, according to the Mt. Zion Baptist Church website.

According to the Mt. Zion Baptist Church website, Rev. Singleton marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the struggle for Civil Rights.  Singleton worked tirelessly to help people find jobs, homes, and re-gain their rights.

Singleton spread the gospel throughout the world.  Prior to becoming pastor at Mt. Zion, Singleton served the Russell Street Church in East St. Louis, IL and the Colette Street Church in Danville, IL.   Under Singleton's leadership, Mt. Zion's membership grew from 100 to 2,000 members.

Singleton was the founder and past president of the Joliet Affiliate Rainbow/P.U.S.H. Coalition and he served as the religious coordinator for the Illinois Rainbow/P.U.S.H. and iNational Board Member. 

Singleton served countless community organizations and received numerous awards from local organizations.

Recently, Singleton spoke regarding labor issues raised by the local group Warehouse Workers for Justice.  At a January 2010 ecumenical celebration of  Martin Luther King Jr. birth, Singleton put the current labor issues in a historical context:

"The Rev. Isaac Singleton also addressed the crowd in Mt. Zion Baptist Church and spoke of the progress made by the black community, and of the struggle ahead.
“I remember when we couldn’t go downtown and buy nothing,” Singleton said. He also recalled “sitting on the back of the bus in Joliet.”
“I think about how far God brought us,” Singleton said, later adding,” We are really not that much better off than we were years ago.
“We’re not where we ought to be, and we’re not where we should be,” the reverend said. “But you have come along way.”
Most importantly, Singleton said, men and women of all races need to “stick together as people.”
“As people of the United States of America,” he said, “and more specifically, Joliet, Illinois, because we can make a difference.”"
You can listen to the ENTIRE audio of The Rev. Dr. Isaac Singleton's last sermon at Mt. Zion Baptist Church here.  Listening to the congregation respond to Singleton, it is clear the love and dedication Mt. Zion feels for their pastor.  

Here is a video of The Rev. Dr. Isaac Singleton's last official sermon at Mt. Zion Baptist Church: