Dr. William Bobby McClain (STH ’62, STH ’77) earned his B.A. degree, summa cum laude, at Clark College, Atlanta. He conceived of and chaired the committee which produced the hymnbook, Songs of Zion, which sold more than 2.5 million copies and changed the composition of Christian hymnals of every denomination. He most recently co-chaired the committee for the sequel to Songs of Zion: Zion Still Sings! For Every Generation.
Professor McClain met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Montgomery, Alabama, where Dr. King was pastoring and McClain was a teen-aged preacher in his hometown of Gadsden, Alabama. After completing his seminary degree at Boston University, where King had previously received his doctorate, Reverend McClain returned to Alabama in 1962 to work with King and the civil rights movement and to serve as pastor of Haven Chapel Methodist Church in Anniston, Alabama, where he remained until returning to graduate school at Boston University in the fall of 1964.
From 1968 to 1978, Dr. McClain, an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church, served as senior pastor of the historic Union United Methodist Church in Boston. During that same period he taught at Boston College, Harvard University, Northeastern University and Emerson College. From 2001-2003 Dr. McClain served as the Senior Pastor of Philadelphia’s Tindley Temple United Methodist Church where the great Charles Albert Tindley served as pastor and wrote many of his famous and beloved Gospel songs.