Dr. Linwood Thomas Daye

Dr. Linwood Thomas Daye was born on December 16, 1931 in Hillsborough, North Carolina. He grew up on a tobacco farm and attended Hillsborough Negro High School. After high school, he joined the army where he served in the Korean War effort for two years. After getting out of the service, he attended North Carolina College in Durham, North Carolina. He then rejoined the service and served an additional three years overseas. His goal was to become a mortician, but he was not allowed this opportunity because of his race. He then studied to become a military medic. At the end of his three years of service he returned to North Carolina College where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in 1961. He became the pastor at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, and then at First Baptist Church in Mebane, North Carolina. During this time he became involved in the civil rights movement by protesting with students, participating in sit-ins, and preaching equality. His two daughters attended an integrated high school. To protect their safety, Dr. Daye dropped them off at school to the principal, who then escorted them inside. He experienced many threats, including harassment from the Ku Klux Klan.

In 1966, he was offered the job of pastor to the Zion Baptist Church in Newport News, Virginia. In Virginia, Dr. Daye continued participating in the civil rights movement and the struggle for social justice by leading a protest against the Daily Press, creating the first daycare for black children in the area, and establishing a senior citizen home for elderly African Americans. He earned his Master of Divinity in 1972 from Shaw University and his Doctorate of Ministry in 1983 from Howard University. He is the author of two books, Fifty Years in the Pulpit and Pastoral Crisis. He is a licensed funeral director and has served at the Zion Baptist Church for more than forty years. The church has been called the “most influential black church on the Peninsula” for its involvement in the Newport News community.

-Interview and biographical information recorded in 2012.