COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Billy Graham used to tell a story about how another minister said he'd never amount to anything but a country preacher.
The son of a dairy farmer, Billy Graham was born in 1918 off a dirt road in what is now Charlotte, North Carolina. The tall, polite young man grew into a fiery speaker and converted millions of people across the globe to Christianity.
This country preacher, a Southern Baptist, helped to break down the walls of the cold war, fought apartheid in South Africa and was instrumental in ending segregation in the United States.
Way back in 1953, Billy Graham demanded his crusades and revivals be racially integrated. In the 1960's he bailed the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr out of jail when the civil rights leader was arrested during demonstrations.
He ministered to and was respected by Queens, Prime Ministers and Presidents and packed stadiums from Columbia, South Carolina to Johannesburg, South Africa.
Some people called him "America's Pastor," while others referred to Graham as America's conscience. Graham was 99 years old when he passed away on Wednesday.
The son of a dairy farmer in Charlotte, the Reverend Billy Graham was the country preacher who changed the world.