Robert & Jean Graetz Collection
Born in West Virginia in 1928, Graetz received his undergraduate degree from Capital University and his theological degree from what is now Trinity Lutheran Seminary, both in Columbus, Ohio. He served as a student pastor at Community Lutheran Church in Los Angeles, California, a largely black congregation. After graduation, he was called to Trinity Lutheran Church in Montgomery, Alabama, an all-black congregation, where he was one of the few white people who worked closely with Mrs. Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and was a active participant in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Three bombs were thrown at the Graetz home because of those activities, as well as other attacks.
He served additional congregations in Columbus, Ohio, Washington, DC and several other sites in Ohio. Graetz also led an experimental ministry in Washington, DC and served as lobbyist for the Ohio Council of Churches.
With the active participation of his Jean, his wife, Graetz authored "A White Preacher’s Memoir: The Montgomery Bus Boycott", and "A White Preacher’s Message on Race and Reconciliation". These books cover their participation in the 50 years of the Civil Rights Movement. Their civil rights activities have expanded to include issues related to disabilities, gender, sexual orientation, economic class, and any other oppressed groups.
The Graetzes served as "ambassadors in residence" for the National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African American Culture at Alabama State University, in Montgomery, Alabama from October 2005-April 2007.
Robert & Jean Graetz