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Kindergartner’s Great-GrandfatherWas a Dr. King Ally

Edward Crowther and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday was Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. On Friday Room 8 kindergartner Eva showed her class a photo of her great-grandfather, Edward Crowther, with Dr. King. Edward was the grandfather of Eva’s mother.

A well-known figure in civil rights circles, Edward was proud to count Dr. King, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and Bobby Kennedy as his allies in the fight against racism. In 1967 Dr. King invited him to give the keynote address at an anti-racism conference in Geneva, and Bobby Kennedy flew to Switzerland to meet him.

Born in England, Edward was ordained an Anglican priest in 1957. Posted to South Africa, he became prominent in the anti-apartheid movement and was ultimately deported for his activities.

After South Africa, he embarked on a worldwide speaking tour, then moved to the U.S., where he became assistant bishop of California, earned a doctorate in psychology at UC Santa Barbara, and was a fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions.

In his later years, Edward continued to participate in civil rights demonstrations, spoke at the United Nations, and wrote books on apartheid, the church, and psychology. He continued to see patients in his psychotherapy practice in Santa Barbara until shortly before his death in 2021 at the age of 92.

Eva shows the photo she shared with her class of her great-grandfather, Edward Crowther, with Martin Luther King Jr., along with a book her mother, Kimberley, used when teaching first grade.

Eva's mother, Kimberley, who taught first grade here for seven years and now substitute-teaches in the lower elementary grades, remembers her grandfather as being “very charismatic. He was intelligent, had a great sense of humor, and always had a strong presence in a room.” 


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