Virtual memorial planned for Rev. Robert Graetz

Graetz was the only white pastor to publicly support the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott

Virtual memorial planned for Rev. Robert Graetz
The Reverend Robert Graetz (right) is a civil rights pioneer. During the Montgomery Bus Boycott he was a white minister fighting for the rights of African Americans. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The family of the late Rev. Robert Graetz, Jr., has finalized plans for a memorial service to be held over the weekend.

It will be attended in person by only family members and memorial speakers due to the family’s desire not to spread the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the service will also be held virtually starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27.

The memorial service live stream will viewable HERE.

Graezt’s memorial will take place at Montgomery’s historic First Baptist Brick-a-Day Church, which was a gathering place for Civil Rights Movement activities.

The church is associated with the Montgomery Bus Boycott’s mass meetings, of which Graetz was a part, as well as the Freedom Rides of May 1961.

Family members said they will plan a public celebration of Graetz’s life after the pandemic has subsided and asked that instead of flowers, donations be made to either of two non-profits:

  • The Graetz Foundation, 1558 Dunbar St., Montgomery, AL 36106
  • The Alabama State University Foundation’s fund for The National Center for the Study of Civil Rights & African-American Culture, which may be reached electronically at or mailed to The Alabama State University Foundation, P.O. Box 1046, Montgomery, AL 36101.

[READ MORE: Montgomery journalist and author remembers Rev. Robert Graetz]

Graetz, who passed away at 92 on Sunday, was a young pastor when he and his wife, Jeannie, moved to Montgomery in 1955 where he became the pastor of the all-Black congregation at Trinity Lutheran Church.

Within months of moving to Alabama’s capital city, Graetz became involved in the Civil Rights Movement in Montgomery and held the distinction of being the only white pastor to publicly support the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

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