Atlanta civil rights activist known for using megaphone during marches passes away

ATLANTA — An icon of the civil rights movement in Atlanta has passed away.

Rev. Fred D. Taylor was known for his unique approach to leading protests with the help of a megaphone. He’d use the same megaphone to sing spiritual hymns and freedom songs during protests.

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Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond announced Taylor’s death on Saturday morning.

“Rev. Taylor was a fearless crusader for justice and equality., Who’s example is one of pure self-sacrifice for the upliftment of others! Always standing upon Wright, he never failed to defend the least of these in our community. My personal journey with him was a blessing. From being inspired by his example to being guided by his wisdom as a mentor, and finally, to cherishing his friendship, I am forever grateful,” Bond wrote in a statement.

Taylor spent nearly 40 years working with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.


According to archivists with Emory University Libraries, Taylor first became involved in the civil rights movement at age 13 with his mentor Ralph David Abernathy.

The Montgomery, Alabama native graduated from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta in 1969 and began his career with the SCLC.

He was also outspoken against the death penalty and was honored as one of the torch-bearers in the 1996 Olympic Games, according to archivists.

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