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Billy Graham's New York Crusade - Timeline Event

Founder

Billy Graham

Time Period

05-15-1957 - 09-01-1957

Description

Billy Graham's 16 weeks of nightly revival meetings in New York City during the summer of 1957 attracted more than two million people to Madison Square Garden. Television network ABC broadcast several nights live on primetime, with millions nationwide tuning in to watch a parade of celebrities like Martin Luther King Jr., Dale Evans, and Ethel Waters share the stage with Graham. By the end of the campaign, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association claimed that 55,000 people had made professions of faith. It was his Graham's largest crusade to that point, at least six times larger than the Los Angeles crusade in 1949. If Los Angeles had made Graham a household name, New York made him a superstar.

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Baptist Events and People

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Narrative

Billy Graham's 16 weeks of nightly revival meetings in New York City during the summer of 1957 attracted more than two million people to Madison Square Garden. Television network ABC broadcast several nights live on primetime, with millions nationwide tuning in to watch a parade of celebrities like Martin Luther King Jr., Dale Evans, and Ethel Waters share the stage with Graham. By the end of the campaign, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association claimed that 55,000 people had made professions of faith. It was his Graham's largest crusade to that point, at least six times larger than the Los Angeles crusade in 1949. If Los Angeles had made Graham a household name, New York made him a superstar.

The size and scope of the crusade attracted critics from both left and right. Theological liberals, like Reinhold Niebuhr, then professor at NYC's Union Theological Seminary, disliked Graham's emphasis on evangelism at the expense of social work. Meanwhile, fundamentalists accused Graham of treason because he invited all Protestants in New York to help sponsor the campaign, including the mainline New York Protestant Council. Fundamentalist leaders like Bob Jones Sr. and John R. Rice could not forgive Graham for sharing a platform with liberals like Norman Vincent Peale. The New York crusade was the breaking point in the controversy between the "New Evangelicals" and fundamentalists with "What do you think of Billy Graham?" instantly becoming a litmus test for differentiating the two camps.

Religious Groups

Baptist Family: Other ARDA Links
Baptist Family: Religious Family Tree
Timeline Entries for the same religious group: Independent Fundamentalist Family
Independent Fundamentalist Family: Other ARDA Links

Biographies

Peale, Norman Vincent
Graham, William "Billy"
King, Martin Luther
Niebuhr, Reinhold

Movements

New Evangelicalism
The Fourth Great Awakening

Related Dictionary Terms

Christianity, Evangelism, Evangelist, Graham, William "Billy" (1918-present), King, Martin Luther (1929-1968), Niebuhr, Reinhold (1892-1971), Revival, Religious, Revivalist, Seminary

Photographs

Madison Square Garden- Internet Archive- from Historical Book issued in connection with the opening events of the Opening of Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden- Internet Archive- from Historical Book issued in connection with the opening events of the Opening of Madison Square Garden

Billy Graham portrait- Wikimedia Commons
Billy Graham portrait- Wikimedia Commons

Madison Square Garden Interior- Internet Archive- from Official Catalogue, United States Food Exposition by the Food Manufacturers' Association
Madison Square Garden Interior- Internet Archive- from Official Catalogue, United States Food Exposition by the Food Manufacturers' Association

Yankee Stadium- Wikimedia Commons
Yankee Stadium- Wikimedia Commons

Web Source(s)

https://wheatonbillygraham.com
The Billy Graham Center maintains an excellent website on the New York Crusade that is chock full of primary documents, photographs, and audio and video clips.
http://www.wheaton.edu/bgc/archives/exhibits/NYC57/11sample59.htm (Link no longer online)
http://www.wheaton.edu/bgc/archives/exhibits/NYC57/14sample74.htm (Link no longer online)

Web Page Contributor

Paul Matzko
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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