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LUCAS, ALBERT ANDERSON

LUCAS, ALBERT ANDERSON (1886–1963). Albert Anderson Lucas, African-American pastor and president of the Houston branch of the NAACP, was born in the Dabney Hill community of Burleson County, Texas, to Augustus and Caroline (Dabney) Lucas on July 17, 1886. Albert was the youngest of seven siblings.

In 1915 Lucas graduated with a major in theology studies from Conroe College in Conroe, Montgomery County, Texas. He married Rena Etta Utley on November 15, 1915. Lucas was ordained as a minister in the Baptist Church. In 1919 he received an honorary doctor of divinity degree and was pastor of the New Home Baptist Church in Rockdale, Texas. His church hosted the annual meeting that year of the Lincoln Missionary Baptist Association; the meeting was attended by approximately 1,500 delegates.

For about a decade or more, beginning in 1921 or earlier, Lucas was pastor of the Second Baptist Church in Waco. In 1934 he was pastor of the Mount Olive Baptist Church in Galveston.

By 1935 Albert and Rena Lucas moved to Houston, where he became pastor of the Good Hope Baptist Church (which later became the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church), one of the largest black Baptist churches in Houston. There he served for the remainder of his life. Albert Lucas was noted for his exceptional organizational, oratorical, and fundraising skills. Under his leadership, the church soon raised $8,000 to pay off its mortgage and was able to procure two additional buildings. Church membership also increased, and the church was able to build a bigger sanctuary.

In November 1939 Lucas was elected president of the Houston branch of the NAACP; he also kept his position as pastor of Good Hope Baptist Church. His leadership skills served him well in the NAACP position. From the pulpit, Lucas urged the members of the congregation to join the NAACP and to pay their poll taxes.

Albert Lucas and others fought politically to eliminate the white primary in Texas. In March 1940 he called for a citywide meeting to lay plans to eliminate the white Democratic primary elections and obtain political rights for African Americans. Lucas then called for blacks throughout Texas to attend the annual meeting of the state branches of the NAACP, which was scheduled to be held in Corpus Christi in May 1940. There, members of the state branches met with the NAACP’s legal counsel, Thurgood Marshall, and together they developed a ten-year plan; the main goal of the plan was to eliminate the white primary. Eventually, Marshall argued the Smith v. Allwright (1944) landmark case successfully before the United States Supreme Court, which affirmed the right of all registered African Americans in Texas to vote in party primary elections.

Albert Lucas traveled abroad; in 1947 he visited England and returned to the United States (port of New York) aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth. He did not serve in the armed forces. In the early 1950s Lucas served as president of the Supreme Mutual Life Insurance Company and the Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company. For decades Albert and Rena Lucas lived at the same address: 5109 Farmer Street, in Houston.

Lucas served as moderator of the Hope Western Baptist Association, president of the Missionary Baptist General Convention of Texas, and treasurer of the National Baptist Convention of America. He was a member of the executive committee of the Baptist World Alliance. In 1945 he was given a Certificate of Award by the Office of Price Administration (OPA).

Albert Anderson Lucas died suddenly of a heart attack on November 24, 1963, in Houston. He was survived by his wife Rena. The couple had no children. According to author Bernadette Pruitt, some historians consider Reverend Albert Lucas “one of the most successful protest pastors of the twentieth century.”

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Big Spring Weekly Herald, October 23, 1953. “Death in the Pulpit: Rev. Albert A. Lucas,” examiner.com (http://www.examiner.com/article/death-the-pulpit-rev-albert-a-lucas), accessed on March 29, 2014. Galveston Daily News, July 12, 1919. Houston Chronicle, March 24, 2002. Howard Jones, The Red Diary: A Chronological History of Black Americans in Houston and Some Neighboring Harris County Communities—122 Years Later (Austin: Nortex Press, 1991). Who Was Who in America, 1607–1984. Merline Pitre, In Struggle against Jim Crow: Lulu B. White and the NAACP, 1900–1957 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2010). Bernadette Pruitt, The Other Great Migration: The Movement of Rural African Americans to Houston, 1900–1941 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2013).

Robert J. Duncan
Robert J. Duncan

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Robert J. Duncan, "LUCAS, ALBERT ANDERSON," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/flu25), accessed November 22, 2014. Uploaded on July 29, 2014. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.