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Rev. Joseph E. Boone

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Rev. Joseph E. Boone  Obituary
Another icon of the civil rights era has died.

The Rev. Joseph E. Boone died Saturday at his Atlanta home, attended by family. He was 83.

Known as the "picketing preacher," Rev. Boone died of complications from Alzheimer's disease, family members said.

His motto was simple: "Find something worth dying for as well as worth living for and die for it daily."

Colleagues and contemporaries remembered Rev. Boone on Saturday afternoon at a gathering at West Hunter Street Baptist Church in Atlanta to honor another fallen civil rights leader, the Rev. Ralph David Abernathy Jr.

"Another great soldier, another great lion has fallen," said Xernona Clayton-Brady, an aide to Rev. Abernathy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

In January, the Rev. Boone was among the inductees to the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame, which is at the National Park Service's Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.

His passing came on a day when Atlantans marked the 10th anniversary of the 1996 Olympic Games with ceremonies in downtown Atlanta and Buckhead. Rev. Boone's link to the Olympics developed a few years earlier than the dates of the Games.

In July 1993, he was among a group of about 50 who demonstrated at what is now the site of Turner Field. They were protesting the groundbreaking for the Olympic Stadium, contending the massive arena would scar the community.

Rev. Boone was known mostly for his activism on behalf of workers.

His family said he staged more than 150 boycotts and protests in Georgia, including those against allegedly unfair practices by A&P Food Stores, The Ford Motor Co., Lockheed, The Avon Corp., Colonial Bread and Hilton Hotels.

In the 1960s, Rev. Boone was appointed by King as chief negotiator for Operation Breadbasket, a program that urged local businesses to hire, promote and fairly treat black employees. In that role, Boone helped lead a team of more than 200 ministers in more than 30 cities.

Funeral services will be held at noon Saturday at Jackson Memorial Baptist Church, 534 Fairburn Road, Atlanta.

Survivors include his former wife, Alethea Williams Boone; two daughters: Andrea Boone and Jolaunda Boone Campbell; two grandchildren; one brother, John O. Boone, and one sister, Lois Montgomery; all of Atlanta.

Staff writer Jeffry Scott contributed to this report.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on July 15, 2006
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