The nation is mourning the passing of Dr. Harry Blake, pastor Emeritus of the Mt. Canaan Baptist Church of Shreveport.
The Reverend Blake died late Wednesday night after testing positive with the Coronavirus.
Beloved by millions across the nation, Dr. Blake was the General Secretary of the National Baptist Convention, USA.
He also served several terms as President of the Louisiana Baptist State Convention, and President of the 13th District Baptist Association.
He was known around the nation for his preaching, teaching, and leadership ability.
In 2018 he retired as pastor of Mt. Canaan, after 52 years in the pulpit. Despite being 84 years old at the time, he wrote a book about his life and began a national book signing tour. The book entitled “Plantation, Protests, Pulpits: Lessons from the phases of my life.” It is a memoir of his long, illustrious life.
A civil rights activist in the Shreveport community, Dr. Blake worked with Dr. Martin Luther King and his staff for four years. Just before the famous Selma, Alabama March, Dr. King flew into Shreveport to meet with Dr. Blake to help get support for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
His activities were not without risks. He has the battle scars that include being beaten, nearly killed, and arrested. During that time, he was shot by a hitch Hiker he stopped to help. The bullet went through his liver, lung, and nipped his kidney.
He was raised on Ashley plantation in Madison Parish.
Through five decades as pastor of Mt. Canaan Baptist Church, he was married to Norma Blake, the woman he described as the “love of his life.” She passed away in April of 2018. They were married a few months shy of 60 years.
In all of his years of civic activity, he prided himself on the fact that he did not neglect his family “I don’t think God requires us as pastors to neglect family at the expense of putting the church first,” he once said.
His wife, Norma, supported him when he was on the road during the civil rights movement working with Dr. King and others. She kept the family together and helped him. At his retirement celebration, he said, “When I was in the civil rights movement, day and night, gone all of the time, planning demonstrations, teaching people how to vote,” his wife kept the family together in his absence.
The couple had four children: Elizabeth, Monica, Harry, and Rodney and were the doting grandparents of 16 grandchildren.
A man of quick wit, great wisdom, and humor, Dr. Blake survived many bouts with illness only to come back and resume his position at Mt. Canaan.
In the hospital, Rev. Blake was recovering from COVID-19 complications and was looking forward to going home.
Wednesday, God called him home.