I don't know a person who didn't admire the late Zollie Webb, pastor of Friendship Baptist Church of Evanston for 38 years.
I got to know Pastor Webb over the past four years or so because I am a huge fan of Evanston Sings. That's the annual Gospel concert he founded and helped spearhead every year through Evanston Own It, and which I have consistently promoted for the beauty of the music and singing by the choir that comprises members of Evanston's 5th ward churches (and anyone else who wants to join) and because it raises funds for the crucial Mayor's Youth Summer Employment Program.
Over that period of time, I discovered just how much Pastor Webb supported the Evanston community, particularly its young men. During his life, Pastor Webb adopted three sons and fostered 54 others!
He was the epitome of a quiet hero, someone who had an enormous impact on many, many lives but who was not recognized nearly enough by our community at large (I'm talking here particularly about white Evanston residents) -- or by the nation, for that matter.
Pastor Webb passed away at the age of 68 on September 4, 2021.
I'll write a longer post about him soon, but in the meantime, I want to share this video that I put together right at the end of last year to honor his memory and legacy.
Please note: you'll notice that the quality of some of the video is not as professional as it should be -- and I'm looking forward to purchasing and learning to use far better video and audio equipment soon. I hope my amateur skills don't detract from the powerful testimonies of his sons, community leaders, religious leaders, and all the many, many people who called him friend.
Thank you to Pastor Monté for allowing me to use footage from Pastor Webb's funeral service that was held at First Church of God Christian Life Center and for everyone who spoke to me about this phenomenal human being.
Thanks to Sharon Walker and Yvette Shelby for helping to bring people together to talk to me.
Pastor Webb will be sorely missed.