Jackson said he was inclined to pursue a career in law before Rev. Stanley steered him toward his religious vocation.
“I had a limited definition of the ministry,” said Jackson. “He saw it as a call to do service, to do justice to exalt people. He said the ministry is much broader than the law, said it’s Genesis and Revelation and beyond — the sum total of life.”
The Greensboro lunch-counter sit-ins were credited with sparking similar protests throughout the South and ushering in a new generation of civil rights leaders, including Jackson, Julian Bond and John Lewis. Three years after the first Woolworth’s sit-in, the Greensboro mayor issued a call for mass desegregation. The next year, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed segregation in public places.
Alfred Knighton Stanley, known as “Tony,” was born in Dudley, N.C., on July 15, 1937, and raised in Greensboro. He was a 1959 graduate of Talladega College in Alabama and received a doctorate in ministry from Howard University in 1974.
In 1966, he left Greensboro for a ministerial job in Detroit. Two years later, he arrived in Washington and became senior minister at Peoples Congregational, a historic church whose late minister, Arthur F. Elmes, helped lead the push to integrate Washington restaurants in the 1950s.
The church, on 13th and Crittenden streets Northwest in the city’s Petworth neighborhood, was a favorite of Howard University educators, doctors, lawyers and journalists. During Rev. Stanley’s tenure, membership increased to about 2,000 from 650 when he took over.
Carrying on the social justice ministry of Elmes, he started a food pantry program and social action group focused on international human rights concerns and began collecting scholarship money for college-bound District students.
For a decade, Rev. Stanley oversaw the redesign and construction of a $5.2 million church sanctuary that was completed in 1991. Describing the house of worship, which was conceived to evoke the African American religious experience, Rev. Stanley called it “an African hut in cathedral proportions.” It has stained-glass windows — one depicting a black female Jesus, a slave ship and a family — donated by Bill Cosby’s wife, Camille.
Rev. Stanley’s marriages to Beatrice Perry and Andrea Young — the daughter of Atlanta mayor, congressman and U.N. ambassador Andrew Young — ended in divorce. Survivors include two children from his first marriage, Nathaniel T. Stanley of Washington and Kathryn V. Stanley of East Point, Ga.; a daughter from his second marriage, Taylor M. Stanley of Washington; and a sister.