Press Releases

April 27, 2016

The country has lost a great freedom fighter



Statement by Rev. Jesse Jackson on the passing of Rev. Samuel “Billy” Kyles


The country has lost a great freedom fighter with the passing tonight in Memphis of Rev. Samuel “Billy” Kyles, my dear old friend and brother in the struggle for racial, social and economic justice.


I visited with Rev. Kyles just a few weeks ago in Memphis during the commemoration of the 48th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Rev. Kyles spent much of the last day of Dr. King’s life talking with him about the next phase of our struggle.


A few hours later, Dr. King was taking us to Rev. Kyles’ house for the last supper when Dr. King was gun downed on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. Rev. Kyles was just a few steps away.


Despite the trauma of that night, Rev. Kyles remained for the rest of his life a social activist, a voice for justice. He was a founding board member of Operation PUSH.


Though he is asleep tonight, Rev. Kyles’ spirit, his quest for justice and peace will live on in our hearts.


Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr.




Media Contacts: Don Terry

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