Remembering Rev. Calvin Butts III

A leader who fought for social justice and equality, Rev. Calvin Butts III passed away on October 28, 2022. We’re sharing video footage of his work to keep his mission alive and honor his memory.


Reverend Butts was born in Connecticut in 1949, and eventually moved to Queens. He received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, then earned his Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, and later his Doctor of Ministry from Drew University.

Butts joined the Abyssinian Baptist Church as a youth pastor, and later became its senior pastor. In addition to his theological work, Butts dedicated his life to social equality. One of his biggest achievements was protesting cigarette advertisements in lower-income communities of color. He picketed the Philip Morris Tobacco Company headquarters continuously, each time returning with a larger group of protestors.

Skip Blumberg and Esti Marpet shot multiple interviews and political actions with Rev. Butts for The 90’s, which you can watch in full at Media Burn. Below check out the short tribute video we created to honor his legacy of fiery activism.



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