HOUSTON – Born into a family of preachers, community activists’ prominent political affiliation was Floyd Nathaniel Williams. As a lad, he watched his father (Rev. M.C. Williams) and grandfather (Rev. Mike Williams) face police brutality and all of the ills associated with Black leaders in that era that were vocal in the fight for equal rights. His father was a strong force within the community and held dominant ties in the political and educational areas of the city.
At one point there was only one school that residents of the Acres Home Community could attend, White Oak School that was located on West Montgomery. No matter how far of a distance a student had to walk or travel it was the only learning institution readily available to them. It was through the continued efforts and assistance of Rev. M.C. Williams that another school was eventually opened, Highland Heights which currently sits at 865 Paul Quinn. Ultimately, a school was named in his father’s honor that occupies the space located at: 6100 Knox Street, which is M.C. Williams Middle School.
Due to the exposure of being reared in a pastor’s home and growing up under such an influence, he began to sense a call to the ministry. He surrendered to that call at the age of sixteen in 1945. First, he earned a Bachelor of Divinity Degree in extended studies from Bishop College. He began pastoring at Greater Union Baptist Church in Matthews, Texas. From 1951 to 1958, Rev. F.N. Williams Sr. served at Friendship Baptist Church in Eagle Lake, Texas and St. John Baptist Church in Beaumont, Texas. After the passing of his father in 1958, he succeeded him as Pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, located at 5902 Beall Street, where he continues to serve today. Rev. Williams, was the first pastor to implement an athletic program outside of school at the church where he was entrusted as steward. Although criticized by other ministers, pastors and the Forward Times newspaper, he never forsook the God-given vision that he had to reach and restore the youth of the community. It was through that same vision that the Lord produced four ministers who were brought in off of the streets and changed their lives around.
Rev. Williams was responsible for the establishment of the Northwest Water District City of Houston. He took a stand to eliminate the residents of Acres Home facing the same turbulence as Bordersville did. Therefore, he felt the need to make noise to ensure that not one of the individuals in his community were affected in a harmful way nor taken advantage of. As a result, he was able to cease the tax hike that would have been infringed on the residents of Acres Home. Throughout the remarkable array of accomplishments that decorate Rev. F.N. Williams are religious affiliations such as: Moderator for the Independent Baptist General Association of Texas; 1st Vice President of the Missionary Baptist General Convention of Texas; President of the Houston Baptist Pastors and Ministers Fellowship; Member of the Board of Directors of Rural and Urban Ministers Conference, Prairie View A&M University; Member of Board of Directors of Church College Relations Board at Bishop College in Dallas, Texas; 1st Vice President of the Baptist Ministers Association of Houston and surrounding vicinity; Member of the Houston Metropolitan Ministries; Advocate and Supporter of the Texas Youth Commission; Founder of the Houston Ministers Against Crime. On August 19, 2000, he was entered into the Religious Hall of Fame Elite in Dallas, Texas.
Although the Bible bears witness that, a professed believer should be, “in the world but not of the world”; Rev. F. N. Williams, Sr. acknowledges the fact that Black communities have serious problems. Accordingly, he has taken initiatives outside of the church to extend his services to serve and take notice of civil issues that plague the Black communities. To that effect his civil organizational affiliations includes: Director of the Advisory Board Standard Savings Association; Director of Houston Council on Human Relations; Director of the Northwest Water District City of Houston; Editor of the Globe Advocate Newspaper; Member of the Human Relations Committee H.I.S.D; Member of the Harris Country Political Organization; Member of the Advisory Board KYOK Radio Station and Channel 13 among many others.
Rev. F.N. Williams, Sr. served in the U.S. military as a Warrant Officer during the Korean War. His background work experience includes working for the U.S. Post Office as a mail carrier in Trinity Gardens and a long time employee at Joske’s and Foley’s Department Stores in Houston; a long shore waterfront worker; and working for Weingarten’s Supermarket Chain before it was acquired by Safeway Stores in 1983. Rev. Williams became a close and personal friend to Former President George H.W. Bush. It was after a debate at Antioch M.B.C where Williams arranged for a face-off for the president and his running mate at the time. A gallery of residents from the Acres Home and Garden Oaks communities, the Mayor and two commissioners amongst many others were present. Although, President Bush did not say what the gathering expected to hear, Rev. Williams encouraged the crowd to base their opinion and support off of the honesty that he had given. From that event, President Bush received the support of Rev. Williams and those who were present and he won the office of presidency.
Through the support of Rev. Williams many elected officials have obtained and retained their positions, of whom there is not enough space to record them all. Rev. F. N. Williams Sr. has built a reputation of being a mighty strong arm to confront and a force to be reckoned with. He dutifully upholds this title all while maintaining Biblical standards and principles conducive with leading and being a voice for the Black community. Some years ago, he challenged a request made by city officials, who will remain nameless, that were in support of establishing a bill to allow homosexuals to receive the same rights that Blacks fought and died for. Due to him standing firm in his decision he was threatened, his office was dismantled and furniture was destroyed. But, no matter the enmity that Williams faced and was encountered with, he always remained steadfast in that which he stood for.
In 1971, he initiated the first ever Martin Luther King Celebration, before it was ever officially declared an official holiday. As it relates to the origination of the Annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration, Rev. F.N. Williams Sr. recollects of his inspiration to host such an event. In his recollection, he states that he and several other local pastors decided that, “We didn’t need the government to tell us when to celebrate our history.” Thus, the Annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration was established and set in motion from that year forward. Among some of the prominent leaders and pastors that gathered to support this celebration were: Pastor Bill Lawson, Pastor Deleon Everett, Dr. A.W. Bill, Pastor A.A. McCardell, Pastor B.J. Lewis, Pastor S.B. Parker, Pastor Andy Young and Pastor J.T. Holcombe to name a few. However, as with anything of this sort, these individuals were not met with smiling faces nor a supportive force.
In fact, it was quite the opposite. Rev. F.N. Williams Sr. recalls the police force being called out and the KKK taunting the efforts of what these leaders came together to host. Rev. F.N. Williams Sr. believed and supported the vision of Dr. King, as he was a supporter in the Civil Rights Movement that he led as well. He was amongst one of the key players that was very instrumental in bringing Dr. King to Houston. Upon which he received a great deal of opposition from local ministers and pastors regarding his decision also. Rev. Williams also reminisced with delight of how he sat only three seats away from Dr. King as he delivered his infamous last speech, I have been to the Mountaintop. To date, he has held 40 Annual Martin Luther King Day Celebrations.