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Rep. Bob Carr shaking hands with Charles G. Adams in Detroit, Michigan

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Rev. Dr. Charles Gilchrist Adams, the pastor of the historic Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, nationally-renowned for his thunderous sermons, passed away Wednesday at the age of 86.

His sister, Edith Clifton, confirmed to the Detroit News that Rev. Adams died after cardiac arrest, following a long bout with pneumonia.

A graduate of the University of Michigan and Harvard Divinity School, Rev. Adams earned the nickname of the “Harvard Hooper” for his powerful method of preaching.

His sermons often went viral over the years. One of his most famous sermons was his powerful eulogy at Rosa Parks’ memorial service in 2005.

Leaders among Detroit’s Black Church community remember him as “a preacher’s preacher.”

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“Adams could start a message, and within five minutes, the people would be on their feet; that’s just how impactful he was,” said the Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the NAACP Detroit Branch and pastor of Detroit’s Fellowship Chapel. “I pray for his son, Christian, and his family and church. I know he had been out of the pulpit for a while, but the pulpit was always in him.”

In addition to his sister, Rev. Adams is survived by his wife, Agnes Adams, and daughter, Dr. Tara Adams Washington.

Rev. Dr. Charles G. Adams, Revered “Harvard Hooper,” Dies at 86  was originally published on