Interview, Raymond Graves

March 26, 1980

Raymond Graves was raised in North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia. He completed his undergraduate education at Winston-Salem State University and served in the United States Air Force for several years. He went on to earn a master’s degree in school administration from North Carolina Central University. After teaching school for 8 years, Graves was called to the ministry. He came to Rochester in 1963 and became the pastor of the New Bethel CME Church while simultaneously completing his theological education at the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. Graves soon became involved with the community organization FIGHT (Freedom, Integration, God, Honor, Today), working to end police brutality and bring more African Americans onto Rochester’s police force. He was also active in Action for a Better Community and in several local churches.

In this interview, Graves discusses his concern for inner-city blight and the poor housing, lack of employment, and lack of political involvement he sees within Rochester’s black community. He explains his belief that churches can be an agent of positive social change, and he calls upon the church to “speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.” Graves explores what he considers to be the most significant problems facing African Americans in Rochester, and offers some possible solutions to these problems.

Content Tags


  • 1980s