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February 2012 : Revival in Washington

.From CN 54, F191

Billy Graham with J. Percy Priest on his right and Walter H. Judd on his left
and a picture of the U.S. Capitol in the background

This year marks the sixty anniversary of the first evangelistic campaign that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association held in the United States capitol, Washington, D.C. Graham had come to the city in response to an invitation from the local churches and civic leaders, including many congressmen and senators. An executive committee headed by Senator Robert S. Kerr organized daily "cottage prayer meetings" held in a thousand homes throughout the city. Thousands of counselors were trained, as well as 450 ushers and a 500-voice choir.

When the meetings began, Graham spoke to 10,000 people the opening night. Thereafter, bowing to local fire regulations, the crowd was limited to 5,000 to 6,000 people a night until midway through the campaign, the District Commissioners raised the number that could attend to 8,000. An outdoor rally was held on the steps of the Capitol on February 3. Despite rain, more than 20,000 attended. This was first formal religious service ever held on the steps and required an act of Congress.

Fifteen thousand were at the final service on February 17. Over the course of the meetings, more than 6,000 came forward to make a decision for Christ. Total attendance was about 307,500. Graham also led the Senate in prayer on January 10 and the House of Representatives on January 23 and held daily noon prayer meetings at the Pentagon. President Truman, however, because of a previous incident with Graham, resolutely refused to attend despite many invitations. Vice-President Alben Barkley summarized the crusade when he said to Graham, "Billy, you're rockin' the old Capitol!"

As part of the campaign, the BGEA's Hour of Decision television program was broadcast from Washington and Billy Graham had congressman and senators as guests over the five weeks of the meetings. On this page is a link to the program broadcast on January 13, 1952 (the opening day of the campaign), when his guests were Congressmen Walter H. Judd (R, Minnesota) and J. Percy Priest (D, Tennessee)

Click here to see the January 13, 1952 broadcast of the television program Hour of Decision

Click here to see a poster from the 1952 Washington Crusade

From Collection 1, Box 1, Folder 6

The film used in this bulletin board came from Collection 54. The handbill and posters came from Collection 1 .

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Last Revised: 02/01/12
Expiration: indefinite

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