Gordon School lost a friend yesterday when Rev. Robert Graetz passed away.
Graetz and his wife, Jeannie, met with Gordon eighth graders in Montgomery, Alabama in 2014, 2015 and 2016, sharing the story of his role in the 1950 bus boycott and the life of activism that he was subsequently called to pursue.
He was Rosa Park's minister when she was arrested on a Montgomery bus, and he served as a visible advocate for civil rights at a time when there were very few white voices calling for justice in the South.
In every meeting, he and Ms. Graetz charmed the Gordon eighth graders with warmth and gentle humor, before impressing upon them the work that remain to be done.
I won’t be around in ten years," he warned them with a smile in 2015. "But that’s OK," he said. "You all are going to take over."
It's a challenge that these students will never forget.
AP coverage of his passing link
Dozens of photos of Rev. Graetz with Gordon link
John Fay '15, preparing to meet Rev. Graetz in 2015 link
Rev. Graetz with Gordon in 2015 link
Rev. Graetz introducing Gordon to his old friend, lawyer Fred Gray, who represented Dr. King, Ms. Parks and dozens of other activists over the past sixty years. link