By Lee Hubbard

Freddie Haynes III comes from a long line of preachers who were activists in the black community. Born in Dallas, Haynes’ father moved his family to San Francisco, where he served as a pastor at the historic Third Baptist Church and led a congregation that advocated for social change.

Haynes has continued in that tradition as the pastor at Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, turning a small church into one that has a congregation of over 13,000 members, which is highly active in Texas politics. Haynes will continue another tradition of working for social change, as he was just announced as the successor to the Reverend Jesse Jackson and his organization, the Rainbow Coalition.

“Rainbow PUSH has been the organizational vehicle he has driven in the movement for justice,” said Haynes. “Rev. Jesse Jackson has made the world a better place, breaking down barriers, opening previously locked doors of opportunity, fighting for justice, and refusing to take ‘no’ for an answer on behalf of those who have no voice. I am honored and humbled that he has tapped me to serve as his successor.”

At Friendship West, he has fought to address the needs of the local community, leading efforts to combat crime, redevelop black neighborhoods, and helping transform the community that surrounds his church. A committed activist, he has formed alliances with local and national community leaders to fight for social justice, combat domestic violence, and address poverty.

“There couldn’t have been a better choice than Dr. Freddie Haynes,” said Dr. Amos Brown, head of the San Francisco NAACP, Senior Pastor of Third Baptist Church in San Francisco, and a mentor to Haynes. “Reverend Jackson is going to pivot and be a counsel and inspiration to younger people.”

Frederick D. Haynes Sr. passed away when Haynes was 14, on the first day he started high school at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco. It was during his time in high school that he met with some adversity and was told he wouldn’t amount to anything, recalled Dr. Brown.

“This white teacher graded his paper, and she basically told him he wasn’t going to do anything based on that paper,” said Dr. Brown. “He was so beaten down from that, and he looked dejected when he was leaving school. Then a black teacher, Miss Homesdale, saw him and asked him where he was going. She told him not to pay any attention to that and met with him to give him confidence. The rest is history. He has bounced back.”

Haynes graduated as the valedictorian at Lincoln and went on to get ordained as a Minister by Dr. Brown. After high school, he attended college at Bishop College, graduating with a BA in Religion and English. He earned a master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Seminary in 1996 and a Ph.D. in 2005 from the Graduate Theological Foundation.

Haynes is on the board of the Conference of National Black Churches, the National Action Network, and the IC3 Church Growth and Development Conference. He also serves as a member of the board of trustees of Paul Quinn College, an HBCU in Dallas, Texas, where he has served as an adjunct professor. He is married to Debra Peek Haynes, the founder and President of Quorum Commercial, and the parent of an adult daughter, Abeni Jewel Haynes.

Dr. Brown, who has known Haynes since he was a teenager, said that unlike many new preachers who have gone into prosperity gospel, Haynes has continued the tradition of being a prophetic voice for the black community.

“Freddie Haynes has a world view,” continued Brown.

In 1983, Haynes accepted the invitation to become the senior pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church when it had less than 100 members, at the ripe age of 21. He has now served in the position for 40 years and helped the church grow its congregation to thousands of members. He has been an advocate for black civil rights and education.

“I have known and worked with him for over 20 years, including when we worked together years ago in the early days of the criminal justice reform movement,” said Vice President Harris. “He has the ability to carry on the greatest traditions of this organization and meet the challenges of this moment.”

The announcement of Haynes being named the head of the Rainbow Coalition was made at the Rainbow Coalition’s National Convention at the Apostolic Church of God this past Sunday. It was made in front of thousands of people in attendance, including Vice President Kamala Harris, who spoke on Jackson and his leadership at the Rainbow Coalition.

In 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King tapped Jackson to come to Chicago to lead Operation Breadbasket, which helped combine theology and social justice to bring about progressive economic, educational, and social policy. In 1971, Jackson founded his own organization, People United to Save Humanity, which focused on improving the economic conditions of black communities across the United States.

In 1996, Jackson changed PUSH’s name to the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, which describes its mission as a “multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international membership organization fighting for social change.” Over the years, the Rainbow Coalition has advocated for black ownership in private enterprise, economic equality, and equity. Jackson, now 81 and diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, has decided to step down and be an emeritus advocate for the Rainbow Coalition, letting Haynes

continue to serve as the Senior Pastor at Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, along with running the day-to-day operations for the Rainbow Coalition.

“I am not retiring, I am pivoting,” said Reverend Jackson.

“Rev Jackson has widened the path for generations that would follow, including President Barack Obama,” said Vice President Harris.

As head of the Rainbow Coalition, Haynes faces many challenges facing black people in the United States. Issues related to shrinking the white/black wealth gap, fighting redlining in black communities, and helping black people obtain reparations for the descendants of slavery for black people in America.

“We are still in a racist America, and the same things needed today are the things needed during reconstruction,” continued Dr. Brown.

“We need to have voter registration, health, and economic empowerment and to recreate our watering holes, which were destroyed by gentrification.”

Brown mentioned areas such as the Fillmore in San Francisco, fourteenth street in Washington DC, King Blvd in Chicago, and areas in West Philadelphia and Jackson, Mississippi.

“He is standing on the shoulders of great iconic figures like Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr. King, Rev Abernathy, and Reverend Josiah Hinson, and he is a great pick,” continued Brown.

Haynes will continue to serve as the Senior Pastor at Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, along with running the day-to-day operations for the Rainbow Coalition.