Chicago Activist Rev. Leon Finney Dies at 82

Don't like to read?

finneyHighly respected Chicago activist, Rev. Leon Finney Jr. passed away on Sept. 4, 2020, at the University of Chicago Medical Center. He was 82.

A good friend, Hermene Hartman, told the Chicago Sun-Times his death came after a long-term illness. In 2019, a spokesperson for the pastor said, he had cardiovascular disease in 2016. The following year, the had open-heart surgery.

Being ill did not stop the Reverand, in January he attended the 30th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Breakfast held by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. In March, he was in discussion with the CEO of Frackle Media Group for their assistance with a Metro Media project.

He was a stalwart leader of the city’s southside communities since the 1960s,” writes Dorothy Brown, the Cook County Clerk. She proudly recalls Finney fighting off slumlords. Moreover, he doggedly worked toward achieving economic and housing growth in Bronzeville and Woodlawn.

Brown fondly remembers the mentorship and support he afforded other community activists and elected officials whose focus was to improve the quality of life for Blacks in Chicago.

finneySecretary of State Jesse White says Finney was a “good man who made a great contribution to making Chicago a better place. He was a strong voice for the disadvantaged.” His death is a major loss for Chicago.

Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Ill., said that Finney was a man of many careers: a successful businessman, a theologian who organized and developed a successful church, and he taught theology at the McCormick Theological Seminary.

Finney was highly respected by many. Called a great friend. He is described as a community treasure. He may be gone but all that he did for Black Chicagoans remains a tribute to his greatness.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware


Chicago Sun-Times: Rev. Leon Finney, longtime power player in city politics, dead at 82; Stefano Esposito and Rachel Hinton

Chicago Tribune: The Rev. Leon Finney Jr., longtime South Side activist and developer, dies; Deanese Williams-Harris

Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County: Clerk Dorothy Brown Mourns the Loss of Dr. Leon Finney, Jr., Trailblazing Activist and Businessman, Jalyne R. Strong

NBC News: Rev. Leon Finney, Longtime Chicago Activist, Dies