Rev. James Bass, One of Chicago’s Remaining ‘Fathers of the Black Church’ Dies at 98

James Bass-Former Pastor of Chicago’s Historic Mount Olive Baptist Church- has passed away at the incredible age of 98 years old.  Reverend Bass made his transition at a Chicago area hospice facility on Tuesday, November 27th, 2018. He died of natural causes.

Reverend Bass was the Organizer and retired Pastor of Mt. Olive M.B. Church, 5729 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL.

“Pastor Bass was a mentor to all of us who dared to be leaders of congregations. He taught us all that our greatest presence is outside the walls of the church.” says Bishop Larry D. Trotter of the Sweet Holy Spirit Church of Chicago.

During the 1960s it was Reverend James Bass who stood up against the wishes of the white community and allowed Dr. King to speak at Mount Olive. Reverend Bass withstood the many death threats and stood firm in his support of Dr. King. In 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was running a civil rights campaign here in Chicago. Rev. Bass and arranged an open meeting at Pulaski and Lexington. Rev. Bass introduced Dr. King to the Westside. Rev. Bass has worked with Bread Baskets as well as Rainbow PUSH Coalition founder, Rev. Jesse Jackson.

“Reverend Bass contributed much to upward mobility of African Americans in Chicago. Without his support of Dr. King, Black Chicago would never have experienced the political empowerment in which we enjoy even on today,” says Bishop Tavis Grant of the Antioch Churches Network International.

Trotter adds, “His relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King was extraordinary and well regarded. He was a catalyst of sorts in getting citywide support for Dr. King during some difficult and turbulent times for African Americans living in Chicago in the 1960s.”

A Veteran of World War 2, Reverend Bass was the oldest son of six children, born to the union of Frank and Hattie B. Bass, in Florence, MS.  James (affectionately known as Reverend Bass), his 4 brothers (Harry, J.C., Sylvestor and Charles) and one sister (Mamie), were raised on the Dockery Plantation near Ruleville, MS.   All of his siblings preceded him in death.

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Source: West Suburban Journal