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March 2004: It Was Fifty Years Ago Today...

from Photo File: BGEA: London Crusade, March 1-May 22, 1954
Billboards (above and below) announcing Billy Graham's upcoming evangelistic meetings in London at Harringay Arena. As Graham says in his memoirs, Just As I Am, "I was convinced that in a huge city like London, only a massive publicity effort would bring the event to the public's attention; anything less would be lost in the constant barrage of commercial advertising. We budgeted $50,000 for publicity, an unheard-of amount."
from Photo File: BGEA: London Crusade, March 1-May 22, 1954


Fifty years ago, Billy Graham was a thirty-six year old evangelist. Since he had emerged into the national awareness with his 1949 Christ for Greater Los Angeles, he had held numerous other evangelistic meetings in American cities. For Graham it had been eight years since he had been in Great Britain with Youth for Christ. Now, invited back by British Evangelical churches, Graham launched the BGEA's first international event, starting on March 1, 1954. This month's Bulletin Board offers glimpses into that mission, featuring a few samples from the three-month series of meetings that ran until May 22nd.

from Collection 9, box 4, folder 1 from Collection 9, box 4, folder 1
Two telegrams sent to Graham from the Chicago area, (left) from Moody Church's pastor Alan Redpath, and (right) from Wheaton College's president V. Raymond Edman, both assuring Graham that he was not alone, but that they too were part of that outreach as they prayed while he preached and led the evangelistic meetings.

from Collection 1, box 1, folder 24
Crusade letterhead depicting the venue for most of the meetings at Harringay Area.

from Photo File: BGEA: London Crusade, March 1-May 22, 1954
Billy Graham's preaching was not confined to the Harringay Arena, such as when on April 3rd he spoke to an estimated outdoor crowd of 12,000 at Trafalgar Square.

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Last Revised: 03/1/04
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Wheaton College 2005