Houston pastor, civil rights leader Rev. William Lawson celebrates 85th birthday at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church

Rev. William Lawson became the founding pastor of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in 1962 and led the congregation for 42 years. He celebrated his 85th birthday with a party at the church on Saturday, June 29, 2013.
June 29, 2013 8:45:40 PM PDT
A well-known local pastor and civil rights leader is celebrating his 85th birthday.

Hundreds of people came out to wish Reverend William Lawson a happy birthday Saturday at the Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church worship center.

Lawson became the church's founding pastor in 1962 and led the congregation for 42 years.

"When you get old, you always feel like you're going to be forgotten. Put on a back shelf," Lawson said. "It means a great deal when people say, 'We haven't forgotten you. We haven't deprioritized you. We still love you.' That's what all this says to me."

Lawson, who is the father of Eyewitness News anchor Melanie Lawson, says he hopes he helped bring people together and make Houston feel more like a community than a big city. And he wants to continue mentoring young people to carry on that legacy.

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