Civil Rights Leader Dies

A Louisville civil rights advocate from the 1960s has died of complications from cancer in Decatur, Georgia.

The Reverend John Rowan Claypool the fourth was known for his preaching skill and willingness to take a stand on controversial topics.

He died Saturday at the age of 74.

He was pastor of Crescent Hill Baptist Church from 1960 to 1971. During that time, Crescent Hill became one of the first congregations in Louisville to integrate. He appeared weekly as a panelist on WHAS radio's "The Moral Side of the News" from 1965 until he left to become pastor of a church in Fort Worth, Texas.

But it was a photograph on the front page of The Courier-Journal that brought Claypool to the forefront of the issue that marked his time in Louisville. The photo showed Claypool having coffee with Martin Luther King Junior.

Claypool spoke out in favor of an open-housing ordinance to end discriminatory practices against blacks, which the Louisville Board of Aldermen adopted in 1967.

He was also president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

In 1986 Claypool was ordained as an Episcopal priest, and he taught at the McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University in Atlanta until his death.