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One year ago: John Harris Burt

Mlk-burt

John Harris Burt was a rector at Pasadena's All Saints Episcopal Church who was known for his outspoken support of the civil rights movement during the days of Martin Luther King Jr.'s crusade. Burt died one year ago at age 91.

Burt helped organize massive civil rights rallies in Los Angeles in the 1960s, including a 1963 event in South Los Angeles that attracted 30,000 people. He also was a vocal supporter of Cesar Chavez and the farm workers movement. 

BurtTwice Burt sat behind King while he addressed crowds of thousands in L.A. -- once in 1963 at South L.A.'s Wrigley Field (now demolished), and a year later at the Coliseum

Burt was one of four rectors "who really shaped All Saints to be a peace-and-justice church," said Rector J. Edwin Bacon, who currently leads the Pasadena church, which is known for the strong stands its clergy has taken against war, poverty and racial and ethnic discrimination over the last seven decades.

Burt was a Navy chaplain during World War II and afterward served at St. John's Episcopal Church in Youngstown, Ohio. In 1978, after leaving Pasadena to serve as bishop of Ohio, he earned the prestigious Thomas Merton Award for his advocacy to keep steel plants open in Youngstown, an effort that ultimately failed.

For more on his life and causes, read John Harris Burt's obituary by The Times.

-- Michael Farr

Upper photo: The Rev. John Burt, seated at fourth from the left, listens as Martin Luther King Jr. addresses 15,000 people at the Coliseum during an interfaith rally in 1964. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Lower photo: Burt in Ohio. Credit: Episcopal Diocese of Ohio

 
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