Reverend D.N. Benford

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Reverend D.N. Benford


Reverend D.N. Benford officially recognized as “the longest-serving pastor of a single church" by the Guinness Book of World Records, shares insight into his 72 years of experience as a preacher for the Rising Star Baptist Church. He talks about his family and what it was like for them as sharecroppers in Bremond, Texas. Benford details his educational journey to becoming an ordained minister and acquiring his Rising Star fellowship. Benford describes the neglected state of Rising Star Baptist Church as he first saw it and his efforts to improve it. He talks about the night the parsonage and church caught fire, the tribulations from the church members surrounding the contractor, Rueben Polk, to rebuild, and the struggle to find a temporary place for the congregation. Benford tells about the community, and how many people moved there for employment opportunities. He talks about the annexation of La Marque into Texas City and the community’s reaction. Benford talks about different stores and shopping venues such as Bogatto’s and the various lumberyards that opened due to the housing development. Benford talks about his children and two marriages; first to Dorothy Davis and then to Juletta Wright, a marriage that lasted almost 62 years. He describes his experience writing and winning a grant, with the help of Mary Crowder and Ruth Shannon Hicks to help open the first Head Start Daycare Center on the Mainland. He talks about the vote, the poll tax, and the role that Black ministers played in providing information to the community about political candidates. Benford talks about his involvement in the civil rights movement. He discusses the integration of schools and how it was important to select a neutral name for their new mascot. Benford tells the story about an African American student who was expelled and how it was necessary to hire a lawyer to protect her rights. He discusses the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the effect it had on him personally and on the community.







Oral History Item Type Metadata


Theresa Mayfield


Reverend D.N. Benford




“Reverend D.N. Benford,” The Oral History Archive at Moore Memorial Public Library, accessed May 21, 2024,