Billy Graham Center

Interview with Lemuel "Lem" Simpson Tucker - Collection 366

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Lemuel "Lem" Simpson

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)


Transcript 1

Transcript 2

Brief Description.
Interview in which Tucker describes his childhood and family, spiritual growth, education, leadership of Voice of Calvary Ministries (VOCM), John Perkins, VOCM's ministry in Jackson, Mississippi, evangelism in the African American community, Mendenhall Ministries, and racial conditions in Mississippi.

Collection 366
[May 25, 2004]
Tucker, Lemuel "Lem" Simpson; 1952-1989
Interview; 1987

2 Reels Audio Tape


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Transcripts to T1 & T2 are available.


Full name: Lemuel Simpson Tucker
Birth date: February 27, 1952, in Norfolk, Virginia.
Death date: After being diagnosed with cancer (American Burkitt's Lymphoma) in mid-March 1989, Tucker died on June 16, 1989, being survived by his wife

  • Parents: names not known, both teachers
  • Siblings: Second of two children
  • Marital Status: Married to Eleanor Tucker
    Conversion: In 1969 while a college freshman
  • 1969 Graduated from high school
  • 1969-1974 Graduated from the College of William and Mary, BA in psychology
  • 1974-1977 Graduated from Westminster Seminary, Philadelphia , MDiv
  • 1977 Executive Director of Voice of Calvary Ministries' International Study Center, and simultaneously as Inter-Varsity staff on the Jackson State campus
  • 1979 Executive director for Voice of Calvary Ministries
  • 1981 President of Voice of Calvary Ministries, from which he oversaw the development of Voice of Calvary's administrative structure
    Other significant information: First met John Perkins during a National Black Evangelical Association Conference, and then again when they were both featured plenary speakers at Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship's Urbana '76

    Scope and Content

    Lem Tucker was interviewed by Paul Ericksen on June 18, 1987 at the Voice of Calvary Ministries' International Study Center in Jackson, Mississippi. The information covered in the interview covers the time period from 1960 to 1987. Time elapsed in minutes and seconds is recorded to the left of the topics discussed in the interview. The index is keyed to the cassette copy and not to the reel-to-reel original.

    T1 - side 1
    00:00 Introduction to interview on June 18, 1987.
    00:15 Biographical summary: family religious environment, personal spiritual development.
    05:30 Racism in America: personal experiences and observations, "Caucasianization" of US history.
    13:15 Westminster Seminary: defiencies in theological emphasis
    16:15 Joining Voice of Calvary (VOC): first contact with John Perkins, influence of Urbana '76, positions held in VOC. John Perkins: leadership style, relationship with Tucker, continuing influence. Organizational dynamics, changes instituted by Tucker.
    27:45 Likes and dislikes of job; aspirations. Personal evaluation and comparison with Perkins. Continued evaluation of organizational dynamics.
    36:30 Voice of Calvary: ministries to the community, philosophy of ministry.
    41:00 Voice of Calvary weakness: Deficiency in developing decision-makers and continuity. Strength: influence through workshops and consultations. Responses to Voice of Calvary.
    45:45 End of side 1.

    T1 - side 2
    00:00 Beginnning of tape.
    00:05 Overlap from side 1; continuation on churches' responses.
    00:45 Voice of Calvary and Mendenhall Ministries relationship: division, differences.
    05:00 Response to Voice of Calvary by evangelical Christians; impact of government funding cutbacks during Reagan administration; cooperative denominations.
    10:30 Ineffectiveness of mass evangelism among the poor; impact of 1975 Billy Graham's crusade in Jackson.
    14:30 Future of Voice of Calvary; hope for urban areas; church preoccupation with other issues; personnel.
    18:00 End of side 2.

    T2 - side 1
    00:00 Beginning of tape.
    00:05 Areas needed continued emphasis: racial reconciliation and economic redistribution.
    02:45 Voice of Calvary's impact on Jackson, Mississippi.
    05:30 Voice of Calvary's financial structure; impact of PTL scandal.
    07:30 Changes since childhood: black churches, white churches.
    13:00 Change in racism in the South.
    15:30 Jackson's Lynch St. area and community festivals; lack of community's sense of ownership of Voice of Calvary.
    20:15 End of side 1 and interview.


    The materials in this collection were received by the Center in June 1987 from Lem Tucker.

    Acc.: 87-75
    April 10, 1990
    Paul A. Ericksen
    C. Easley

    Accession : 87-75
    Type of material: Audio Tapes

    The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

    T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 65 minutes (1 hour, 5 minutes), one side only; originally recorded on cassette and transferred to master reel-to-reel tape. Interview with Lem Tucker by Paul Ericksen recorded on June 18, 1987. Tucker describes his family; early life; spiritual growth; education; work with John Perkins and Voice of Calvary Ministries; administration of Voice of Calvary; Jackson, Mississippi; the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's 1975 Deep South Crusade in Jackson; evangelism in the African American community; and American racism.

    T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 20 minutes, one side only; originally recorded on cassette and transferred to master reel-to-reel tape. Continuation of interview on T1 with Tucker. Discussion of Jackson, Mississippi; the African American church; America's white church; racism; and Voice of Calvary's impact on the Jackson community.

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    Last Revised: 5/25/04
    Expiration: indefinite