Southern Christian Leadership Conference chairman Raleigh Trammell (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Photo: JOHNN BAZEMORE/AP
Photo: JOHNN BAZEMORE/AP

Longtime Dayton civil rights activist Rev. Raleigh Trammell dead at 81

Longtime Dayton civil rights activist, the Rev. Raleigh Trammell, died on Thursday at Miami Valley Hospital, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s office.

Trammell, 81, of Dayton was pastor of Central Missionary Baptist Church and the former leader of the local and national Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

His granddaughter Chris Goodwine posted about his death on her Facebook page.

“My grandfather, Reverend Raleigh Trammell, was more than just my grandfather.  He was my mentor. He was a civil rights hero. He was a spiritual guide. He was a community leader. He was an entrepreneur.  He was the person you called when others would not give you a place to speak,” part of her post said.

Charles Steele Jr, president/CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said Trammell “fought in the trenches for civil rights.”

“The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is saddened to hear about the transition of Rev. Raleigh Trammell. As a former chairman of the board of directors of our organization, we know that Rev. Trammel fought in the trenches for civil rights and to cement the legacy and ideologies of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Steele said.

“On behalf of SCLC and our board of directors, chaired by Dr. Bernard LaFayette Jr., we extend our condolences to the family of Rev. Raleigh Trammell. As we remember his work, we will also lift up his family as they go through this difficult time.”

Community activist Keith Lander said Trammell was a “civil rights icon.”

“What a lot of people probably won’t remember about the Rev. Raleigh Trammell is that he fought for is that he fought injustice against African-Americans in the Dayton area when nobody else was speaking up and we are going back to the 1960s. When it was not popular, he was challenging people to do the right thing when it came to the treatment of black folks here in Dayton. In my opinion, he is a civil rights icon, not locally but nationally for the work he did with the SCLC.”

Elder Bilal Momin, pastor of Dayton’s Zion Temple, said “Trammell brought a lot of help to the city of Dayton, to the black community and he did do a lot back in the 1960s and 70s and he was one of the leaders in the black community.”

Monin said most people do acknowledge some tough times for Trammell, but it is important to note his efforts in helping an underserved community when there were not many resources available to assist people.

Trammell went to prison after being convicted in 2012 of stealing taxpayer money Montgomery County gave the SCLC to feed low-income elderly people.

His indictment came after a Dayton Daily News investigation of how the local SCLC had used taxpayer money awarded by federal, state and local governments. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Trammell was released from prison in 2015.

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