SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Civil rights leader and longtime Shreveport pastor the Rev. Harry Blake Sr. has passed away.
The 85-year-old pastor emeritus of Shreveport’s historic Mount Canaan Baptist Church died tonight after a brief illness, according to a statement posted on his Facebook page.
Funeral arrangements for Blake, interim pastor of Shreveport’s St. Rest Baptist Church, are pending..
“The family is appreciative of the outpouring of support that has come for the local community and from across the nation,” the Facebook post says. “During this critical time, The Blake family requests private time as they, together, mourn the passing of their father, brother, grandfather and uncle.”
Blake, who served at Mount Canaan Baptist for more 52 years, was a civil rights icon who strived for justice and equality.
The revered pastor who grew up on plantations in Arkansas and Louisiana also was a published author.
Blake, whom some described as being a living legend, fought for equality and civil rights alongside the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
And because of that, Blake is the subject of a now-iconic photograph of that era. It shows Blake being tended to shortly after he was hit with a billy club baton at Little Union Baptist Church in 1963. That photo has since come to symbolize the Civil Rights Movement in Northwest Louisiana.