Beloved Seattle reverend, civil rights leader dies at 91

SEATTLE — The Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney, longtime civil rights leader and pastor emeritus of Seattle’s Mount Zion Baptist Church, died Saturday at the age of 91, according to his family.

The reverend’s daughter, Dr. Lora-Ellen McKinney, confirmed the reverend’s passing on social media Saturday afternoon.

The Rev. McKinney came to Seattle in 1958, taking the reins at Mount Zion and becoming integral to a nationwide civil rights movement.

He invited Martin Luther King, Jr. to Seattle in 1961 and marched to Montgomery with King in 1965.

Earlier this week, Q13 News sat down with McKinney, who reflected on his friendship with Martin Luther King, Jr. and the lasting legacy of his work.

After watching two friends in the civil rights movement -- Martin Luther King Jr. and Shoreline's Edwin Pratt -- get assassinated, McKinney admitted he considered the possibility he, too, would be killed.

He refused to let that stop him.

In the years that followed, the reverend helped get open-housing legislation passed in Seattle, founded schools, housed the elderly and established the city's first black-owned lending institution.

A formal memorial service has not been announced but there will be an unofficial gathering at Mount Zion Baptist Church on Sunday morning.