Rev. Dr. Albert Sampson is an internationally known and respected icon and leader renowned as one of the most insightful and inspirational motivators in the field today. WGN -TV describes him as a spiritual leader whose message of leadership and self development has inspired millions in the United States and in 72 countries around the world. Rev. Dr. Sampson's message both encourages and provides the tools necessary to help people believe in themselves, their dreams and live their lives to their fullest potential. His message provides inspiration, integrity and courage. June, 2006, marks 50 years in the ministry and his 31st anniversary as Senior Pastor of Fernwood United Methodist Church. He is also Presiding Elder of the United Methodist Church Chicago South End Cooperative Parish. The Reverend Al Sampson was the only member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) staff to be personally ordained by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Ebenezer Baptist C hurch, Atlanta, GA in 1966. In April 2006, 40 years later, Rev. Dr. Albert Richard Sampson was inducted into Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel Board of Preachers, Sponsors, and Collegium Scholars and The International Hall of Honor.
Rev. Dr. Sampson was born in 1938 in Everett, Massachusetts, and graduated from Everett High School in 1956. In his senior year, he won a high school oratorical contest. At 19, he felt the strong call to enter the ministry and was licensed to preach in his home church of Emmanuel Baptist in Malden, Massachusetts. As a youth he caught the attention of the Reverend Dr. Grady Demus Davis, Dean of the School of Religion at Shaw University who selected him to be a student at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. At Shaw, Sampson earned his B.A. degree in Religion and Social Science because he understood early in his mission the connection between the spiritual aspects of life and the social needs of the people. He received his Master's Degree in Cultural Studies in 1973 from Governors State University, University Park, IL; his Master's of Divinity Degree in 1977 from McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago; and his Doctorate in Divinity from Union Baptist Theological Seminary in Toledo, Ohio.
Rev. Dr. Sampson's extraordinary leadership dates back to his college days at Shaw. While there, he was President of the student body, President of Shaw University NAACP on the campus and President of the Youth and College Chapters of the NAACP in North Carolina. He introduced the first public accommodations bill in North Carolina history. He also initiated and led the voter registration and political education drive leading to the election of the first Black city councilman, John Winters, in the state of North Carolina.
As a reporter for the "Atlanta Inquirer" newspaper under the leadership of Jesse Hill in Atlanta, Dr. Sampson met Civil Rights Movement advocate Reverend C.T. Vivian. Rev. Dr. Sampson was a demonstrator in the movement for school desegregation which ultimately led him to join the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC) in 1962. Along with Reverend C.T. Vivian, Sampson was instrumental in the establishment of the high school graduate program now known as "Upward Bound," which was then called "Project Vision" and became his assistant director of affiliates and chapters of the SCLC. He was selected to study community organizing under the late Saul Alinsky and later worked with the Reverend James Bevel to help organize Resurrection City for Dr. King's Poor People's Campaign in 1968. Rev. Dr. Albert Sampson was also assigned as an assistant to Reverend Ralph David Abernathy, Sr.
He was the SCLC Project Director under Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., playing a critically important role in the campaign for the election of Carl Stokes, the first black mayor of a major U.S. city, Cleveland, Ohio. When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sought to fix affordable housing issues in America, he appointed Rev. Dr. Sampson as the National Housing Director of SCLC. In this capacity, Rev. Dr. Sampson traveled to Europe to investigate Industrial Housing Systems, and was responsible for bringing the first affordable home model to Chicago's west side in a joint venture with the Amish Community of Nappanee, Indiana.
Rev. Dr. Sampson is now the founder and president of Farmers Agribusiness Resource Management (FARM), President of the Metropolitan Council of Black Churches in Chicago, Former President of the Neighborhood Social Entrepreneurs Society (NSET) and President of the Metro Area African American Seniors Resource Network. Rev. Dr. Sampson also served as a Board Member of one the largest Black-Owned banks in America.
He was also selected to work on committees and task forces by the late Mayor Harold Washington of Chicago and held the position of International Vice-President for Training of Allied Workers International Union, the only Black independent union recognized by the US Labor Department. He has served as Chaplain of the World Conference of Mayors and The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB). In 2006 Rev. Dr. Sampson was selected by President George W. Bush and the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives to Address the 2nd annual White House National Conference on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Conference. He presented his Position Paper: Paradigm Shift Change for Social Strength 2006 and beyond! (That all faith-based and social service organizations would be transformed from what has caused social enterprise barriers to what it is possible with private sector investment) during the Issue Forum: Bringing Minority Social Entrepreneurs and Corporate/Foundation Resources Together.
Rev. Dr. Sampson is a distinguished Biblical Scholar and Theological Consultant for The Original African Heritage Study Bible published by Winston-Derrick Publishing Company. He has appeared in thousands of media outlets such as Esquire and Ebony magazines, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and USA TODAY. Rev. Dr. Sampson is also featured in History Makers DVD series as a Living Legend. His Biography is recognized in Gale Group's Who's Who in Black America.