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Warren, Kenneth R., Reverend, 1923-2016


Biographical Note

Kenneth R. Warren (1923-2016) was a Unitarian minister in Barnstable, Massachusetts, and civil rights activist, instrumental in assisting the “Reverse Freedom Riders” who arrived in Cape Cod in the summer of 1962.

Born on January 21, 1923, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Chester Llewellyn and Marguerite (Packham) Warren, Kenneth Warren served as a merchant marine from 1942 to 1945 and received his bachelor of arts degree from Oklahoma City University (1949). Warren was ordained in 1952 by the First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City. He traveled to Harvard Divinity School and achieved his bachelor of sacred theology in 1952. Warren started his service as the minister for the Unitarian Church of Barnstable, Massachusetts in 1953. Committed to the church and community of Barnstable, he served until his retirement in 1991.

Warren was active in the denomination, but was also committed to civil rights and community activism through his work with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); the Barnstable Housing Authority; the Cape Cod Mental Health Association; and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Warren’s involvement with the Reverse Freedom Rides began on May 8, 1962, when a meeting was called at the Unitarian Church in Barnstable to advocate and plan for the anticipated arrival of the Reverse Freedom Riders. An informal committee was formed on that day, and formalized on May 29 with Reverend Warren as its chairman. The Cape Cod Refugee Relief Committee assisted the arrivals, as well as coordinated with several local government welfare agencies, to address housing, transportation and employment for the riders. Seen as refugees by the communities in Cape Cod, the Reverse Freedom Riders needed assistance when on arrival the promises of high-paying jobs and free housing made by White Citizens’ Councils throughout the south were nonexistent.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Kenneth R. Warren papers

Identifier: 821
Content Description The Kenneth Warren papers mainly document Reverend Warren’s work with the Cape Cod Refugee Relief Committee in Barnstable, Massachusetts. The committee was established to assist the 96 Reverse Freedom Riders who arrived in the resort town of Hyannis, Massachusetts between May and October 1962. Warren was the chairman of the committee, committed to assisting the arrivals as best possible in finding housing, employment and transportation. All arrivals but one family—Mrs. Victoria Bell and her...
Dates: 1959-2012; Majority of material found within 1962-1965