Billy Graham, America’s Pastor
Billy Graham (1918-2018), known as “America’s Pastor,” wrote dozens of books that were published in the millions. According to an article in the Saturday Evening Post, one of his books made publishing history with an initial print run of 800,000 copies. He also was a syndicated newspaper columnist and began a magazine called Decision that attracted 2 million subscribers.
He was a Baptist and the pastor of several US presidents, three of whom attended the opening of his library. For more than 60 years, Graham filled arenas worldwide with people who came to hear him preach. His ministry reached 185 countries and led to many other ministries, including a long-running world hunger program.
He is also known for his friendship with Martin Luther King, Jr., and once bailed Martin Luther King, Jr., out of jail.
North Carolina, His Home
In North Carolina, he has a major parkway named after him, a rarity for preachers. The photo on this page was taken through a windshield while driving on the parkway.
Visit the Billy Graham Library in the major city of Charlotte, and you will see his boyhood home, a robust bookstore (“Ruth’s Attic”), and a prayer garden. Check the Library’s website for information about special events.
His Life’s Message
Listen to a Billy Graham message to see why he was successful at attracting and drawing in large audiences. The feature film Unbroken, based on the bestselling book by Laura Hillenbrand, also attracted large audiences. It is a biographical story of Louis Zamperini, who met Billy Graham early in Graham’s career and, as a result, became a vocal leader in the Christian community himself.
Many inspiring photos of Billy Graham can be found through Google Images, including his Hollywood Walk of Fame star, meetings with US presidents, preaching around the world, and chatting with legendary people of the day.
Billy Graham passed away in his home on February 21, 2018 at the age of 99. Read his obituary here: Billy Graham Official Obituary His burial place is outside the Billy Graham Library.
Since his death, the home and library has remained open for public visitors. Graham’s support of the principles espoused by longtrime friend Martin Luther King, Jr. has been less in the forefront of some of his followers, as political division within the Christian community heightened soon after he passed.
He was, however, deeply concerned about political fervor overtaking the Christian identity. He expressed the following in the February 1, 1981 issue of Parade magazine: “I don’t want to see religious bigotry in any form. It would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.” During the 2020 US presidential election, this quote resurged in social media, bringing back awareness of his apolitical perspective.
On the Path
The Billy Graham Library can be the first stop on our North Carolina Author Adventures Trail for those arriving through Charlotte.