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Biography of Dr. Wilbur N. Daniel


Dr. Wilbur Nathan Daniel, B. Th, B.S., M.A., D.D.


Wilbur N. Daniel was born on January 2, 1918 in Louisville, Kentucky to Nathan and Fannie Daniel. He received his elementary education in West Point, Kentucky and graduated from Central High School in Louisville. In 1938 he was married to Ms. Marguerite Richards. The Daniel’s have two sons; Wilbur N. Jr., a graduate of Northern Illinois University at DeKalb, and Rickey Eugene, a graduate of Michigan State University at East Lansing.Daniel entered the ministry at the age of 25. His first pastorate was the Macedonia Baptist Church in Garrett, Indiana. While there he studied religious education and pastoral theology at Fort Wayne Bible Institute. Daniel later accepted the invitation to pastor the Pilgrim Emmanuel Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee where he served for three years.While in Nashville, he enrolled at the American Baptist Theological Seminary, receiving the Bachelor of Theology degree. From there he enrolled at the Tennessee State University where he received the Bachelor of Science degree.  In 1949 he accepted the pastorate of the St. John Baptist Church in Clarksville, Tennessee and while there he applied for admittance to Austin Peay State University which up to that time was all white. Rev. Daniel pioneered the way for integration of this university and graduated with honors in 1957 receiving the Master of Arts degree.  

In 1957 Daniel became the Pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago. In the mid 1960's, under Daniel’s leadership, Antioch became the first church organization in the country to take advantage of Section 202 of the National Housing Act. Passed under President Dwight Eisenhower, Section 202 provides government loans for not-for-profit organizations such as Antioch to purchase land for developing low-income senior citizen housing.  From those first townhouses and apartment units, Antioch has developed or rehabilitated more than 900 units for senior citizens, the handicapped, and families. This housing effort includes the Ft. Wayne, Indiana and joint ventures with the North Woodriver Baptist District Association and New Pisgah Baptist Church.

Daniel was included in numerous civic and religious activities. Along with the responsibility of pastoring, he served as president of the Chicago Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for two years, vice president and president of the Police Board of the city of Chicago, treasurer of the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America, and head of the Adult Department of the National Baptist Sunday School and BTU Congress. He was a member of the Trustee Board of the Chicago Baptist Institute, member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Dwelling Association, Moderator of the North Woodriver Baptist Distract Association, member of the Executive Board of the NAACP, member of the Council of Religious Leaders of the Chicago Urban League, board member of the Joint Negro Appeal, member of the board of the National Baptist Publishing Board, chairman of the Board of Highland community Bank, member of the Board of Directors of Citizens Bank, Nashville, Tennessee and several other organizations.

Noted are some of the many organizations and institutions that have honored Dr. Wilbur N. Daniel: honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him June 5, 1960 by the late Dr. M.C. Allen, president of the Virginia Theological Seminary and College, and in June 1961, the Arkansas Baptist State College awarded him a second Doctor of Divinity degree. The African American Cultural Center at Austin Peay University was named in honor of Rev. W.M. Daniel, in a ceremony which took place at the University in December 1992.

"It's hard to convince a man that Jesus loves him if he sleeps in the streets and his belly is empty.  You have to first address the man's environmental concerns, he reminds us, and then present Jesus as the One who can save his soul."  -Dr. Wilbur Nathan Daniel


This information is courtesy of: Antioch Missionary Baptist Church