By Sharon Fountain, Chicago Crusader
Some literature says the Civil Rights Movement didn’t end in 1968 instead the movement became the work of champions like Reverend Tyrone Crider Sr., who died Friday, May 26 after a long battle with cancer at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
As the family announced his passing in an official statement on the Mount Calvary Baptist Church letterhead, social media reverberated tweets and messages of condolences. Some remembered Crider by sharing their personal videos of the dedicated spiritual leader. Crider was the pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church since his installation July 27, 2003. He was loved, admired and well liked in Chicago by civic, community and church leaders.
Jesse Jackson shared his memories of Crider helping to rally voters for Jackson’s run for presidency and his work on Mayor Harold Washington campaign. Reverend Jackson said he knew early on that Crider had “it” – the stuff – to rally people behind him. Jackson said, “…His memory will be as an activist and a leader involved in helping resolve violence conflicts. His preaching, his speaking on college campuses, inspiring youth, his voter registration, his feeding hungry people. Tyrone Crider never stopped serving. He’ll live as long as we remember them. We will never forget.”
Pastor Chris Harris, senior pastor of the Bright Star Church mourned deeply the loss of Crider on social media, who he described as “his spiritual father and mentor.”
Among the elected officials, Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel released the following statement: “I was very saddened to learn of the passing of The Reverend Tyrone Crider, Sr. He was a preaching giant, a civil rights trailblazer, and someone who cared deeply about Chicago, our state, and our nation.”
Fellow publisher of the Chicago and Gary Crusader Newspapers, Dorothy R. Leavell expressed her condolences and her memories. “His African American Tribune was an amazing publication that covered the gospel and church news in our community providing a much need service where other papers could not. Despite all of the health challenges he faced, he always had a smile and kind words to share. He will be dearly missed.”
A lifelong friend of Crider, Christopher Hamlin, pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama said he talked with Crider last two weeks ago. He sounded a little more concerned than the previous times he had been hospitalized in terms of what he said was going on. “Tyrone had always been very charismatic — do what you have to do—a lot of energy. But this time he sounded deeply concerned about what was going on.”
Hamlin and Crider were roommates at Morehouse College in the late 70s for several years. He remembers Crider as a high-energy person, intelligent and enthusiastic. Crider was a highly intelligent honor student who mesmerized fellow students with his ability to study the night before and ace a test the next day. He also served in several leadership roles and was an activist — organizing students and an entrepreneur. Hamlin said, “He was always willing to give you the shirt off his back and he was always thinking of others often at the expense of himself.”
Both men were called into the ministry. “We were blessed to go to Morehouse and be there when Maynard Jackson was running for re-election in Atlanta,” Hamlin said. “Crider organized the students to register voters for Maynard Jackson’s re-election.” They heard the top tier leaders of that time who challenged them to appropriate that into our careers and into our work.
For Crider it would lead to him becoming a life-long activist, which included serving for a time at Push.
When asked what he will remember most about his friend, Hamlin’s first words were, “His charisma — he was a gifted speaker that spoke extemporaneously.”
Tyrone Crider was born January 6, 1959 in Maywood, Illinois to Charles and Bernice Crider. He attended Washington and St. Paul Elementary Schools and graduated from Walter Lutheran High School in 1977.
Pastor Crider attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, the alma mater of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. While at Morehouse, he accepted his call to Ministry and preached his first sermon and became a licensed preacher on May 17, 1978. Rev. Crider was ordained to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ on March 1, 1981 by Pastor Harry McNelty of the First Baptist Church of Melrose Park, Illinois.
In 1982, Pastor Crider graduated from Morehouse College and moved back to Chicago to head up The National Push for Excellence Program.
In 1983, Rev. Crider coordinated the youth voter registration campaign to elect Chicago’s First Black Mayor, Harold Washington. Rev. Crider then led the national voter registration campaign for the historic Rev. Jesse Jackson for President Campaign in 1984.
From 1985 through 1989 Rev. Crider served as the Director of Admissions and Associate Dean of Students at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. In 1990, Rev. Crider became National Executive Director of Operation PUSH.
On November 3, 1991, Pastor Crider organized the New Hope Community Baptist Church of Chicago. He served as Pastor until stricken with Cancer in March of 1998.
On December 31, 1994, Rev. Crider married Regina Leslie. God placed five children in their home, Sandra, Shantoya, Felice, Tyrone, Jr., and Ti’Ana. Together with the prayers of the righteous, Rev. Crider and his wife, Regina, successfully fought the cancer. The remarkable story of his healing through Regina’s prayer and intercession has been published in a book entitled A Living Testimony.
On July 27, 2003, Pastor Crider was installed as Pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church of Chicago, Illinois. God has blessed him to celebrate 11 years as Pastor.
From 1994 – 2013 Pastor Crider published The Gospel Tribune. In December of 2014, Pastor Crider launched The African American Tribune.
The viewing will be at Mount Calvary Baptist Church, 1259 S. 111th Street in Chicago this Friday, June 2 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. On Saturday, June 3 at 10 a.m. will be the visitation service and the home going service will immediately follow at 11 a.m. at the House of Hope, 752 E. 114th Street, Chicago where James T. Meeks is Host Pastor.
The funeral service is scheduled to be streamed live on sbcoc.churchonline.org.
Pastor Chris Harris, Sr. of Bright Star COGIC will officiate the services.