Channing E. Phillips, 59, a former Washington clergyman, politician and civil rights activist and the former executive director of an organization that produced inexpensive housing for low-income people here during the late 1960s and early 1970s, died of cancer yesterday at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.
From 1968 until 1972, Mr. Phillips was Washington's Democratic national committeeman. In that capacity he became the first black to be nominated for president by a major political party when the city's delegation to the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago nominated him as its favorite son candidate in place of the slain Robert F. Kennedy. Mr. Phillips received 67 1/2 votes from 18 states and a substantial amount of national media exposure.
He ran unsuccessfully in 1971 in the first election for Washington's nonvoting delegate to the House of Representatives, finishing third in a seven-person contest behind the Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy and former D.C. Council member Joseph P. Yeldell.
From 1961 until he resigned in 1970, Mr. Phillips was senior minister of Lincoln Temple United Church of Christ in Washington. His resignation came amid internal tensions that followed expressions of disapproval by some members of the congregation that Mr. Phillips had become too involved in social issues.
From the mid-1960s until he resigned in 1974, he was executive director of the Housing Development Corporation, which produced and sponsored subsidized housing for low-income people in Washington.
After leaving the corporation, Mr. Phillips moved to Richmond where he became a vice president at Virginia Union University. He was fired from that job later in 1974 amidst charges of nonperformance and attempting to "undermine the university's administration," which he denied. A lawsuit over the dispute was settled out of court.
Later he returned to Washington as director of congressional relations for the National Endowment for the Humanities, a position he held until he moved to New York in 1982.
At the time of his death, Mr. Phillips was on disability leave as minister of planning and coordination at Riverside Church in New York City.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., the son of a Baptist clergyman, Mr. Phillips grew up in New York and Pittsburgh. He served in the Army in the late 1940s, then graduated from Virginia Union where he played center on the basketball team. He received a divinity degree from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School and did postgraduate study at Drew University in New Jersey.
He first came to Washington in 1956 as a lecturer in New Testament studies at Howard and American universities, and the next year he taught Greek at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria.
Mr. Phillips was an assistant minister at a Congregational Church in Harlem, then minister of a Congregational Church in Jamaica, N.Y., before he returned to Washington and Lincoln Temple Church in 1961.
His return here coincided with a period of turbulence in the civil rights movement and agitation for home rule for the District of Columbia. As did many other clergymen, Mr. Phillips moved into a position of leadership in those efforts. He participated in the 1965 voting rights march in Selma, Ala., and spoke out on several local issues, including housing and the volatile and controversial one on police presence and behavior in inner-city black neighborhoods.
He was also an outspoken opponent of U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam, a stand that in 1968 prompted Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.) to ask Mr. Phillips to lead his presidential bid in the District of Columbia.
The ticket headed by Mr. Phillips captured all of the city's Democratic National Convention votes and seized control of the party organization here. After Robert Kennedy's assassination in June of that year, Mr. Phillips was nominated in his stead as a favorite son candidate at the Chicago convention.
It was also in 1968 that Mr. Phillips' Housing Development Corporation opened its first rehabilitated housing unit for a low-income family here. During the next six years, HDC produced more than 1,000 units of housing for low-income families, ranging from efficiency apartments to five-bedroom houses. But its efforts were not without controversy.
A highly publicized renovation of the Clifton Terrace Apartments, once the symbol of all that was wrong with slum housing in Washington, ended in bankruptcy. Other units were subsequently resold by their low-income owners to middle-class purchasers. Mr. Phillips resigned in 1974, citing a lack of support from the city government.
While running for D.C. delegate, Mr. Phillips was sometimes criticized by opponents as being the candidate of Washington's white liberal establishment. To his supporters he was a man of vast intellectual ability and persuasiveness. His opponents said he was aloof and difficult to work with.
Survivors include his wife, Jane Phillips of New York City; two sons, Channing D. Phillips of Washington and John Phillips of New York City; three daughters, Sheila Peterson and Tracy Phillips, both of New York City, and Jill Phillips of Oakland; his mother, Dorothy A. Phillips of Baltimore; one sister, Marie P. Cary of Chicago; three brothers, Wendell H. Phillips of Baltimore, F. Allison Phillips of Cleveland, and Treadwell O. Phillips of Columbia, and one grandson.
DAVID JOHN DUNIGAN,
65, retired president of a Washington real estate management firm and a past president of the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association, died of emphysema Nov. 11 at his home in Annapolis.
A native Washingtonian, Mr. Dunigan graduated from the Landon School and Babson Institute. During World War II he was a B24 pilot with the 8th Air Force in England and he flew 35 combat missions over Europe. He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, a Bronze Star and the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters.
After the war he went into the real estate business here, and he retired in 1984 as president of D.J. Dunigan Inc., a Washington real estate management firm.
But yachting was Mr. Dunigan's avocation, and he had been involved in yacht racing since the age of 7.
He was a former member of the race committee of the Annapolis Yacht Club and a past commodore of the Gibson Island Yacht Squadron. In 1951 he was chairman of the Star class World Championship races held at Gibson Island and he had held several offices in Star class organizations between 1936 and 1955.
His marriage to the former Virginia Lang ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife, Carol Hoke Chaplin Dunigan of Annapolis; four sons by his first marriage, David John Dunigan III and George Lang Dunigan, both of Annapolis, Bruce Foster Dunigan of Alexandria, and Peter Whyte Dunigan of Boulder, Colo.; a daughter by his first marriage, Virginia Gift Dunigan of St. Leonard, Md.; a stepson, John Michael Chaplin of Crofton; a stepdaughter, Suellen Chaplin of Portland, Ore.; a brother, Robert Barry Dunigan of Bethesda; a sister, Helen Dunigan Casey of Bethesda, and a grandson.