The Star-Telegram provided extensive coverage of charismatic evangelist Billy Graham when his ministry visited North Texas, from a crusade at TCU in 1951 to a special conversation in 1977 to his last public appearance in Dallas-Fort Worth, a revival at Texas Stadium in 2002.
Here are some excerpts of what we wrote:
From a story on his crusade at Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth:
‘500 answer Graham’s call at final revival meeting’
March 26, 1951
By Cullum Greene
Five hundred people stood on the goal line of Amon Carter Stadium at TCU Sunday afternoon and accepted Christ as their personal savior in the final service of the Billy Graham greater Fort Worth evangelistic crusade.
“God is not going to spare you at judgment day unless you give your heart to Christ and are born again,” the dynamic young evangelist told the 36,000 who attended.
The attendance fell far short of the goal of 60,000 but did set a record for a religious gathering for Texas or the Southwest. It also was the largest crowd to ever attend any affair in Fort Worth, other than a sports event.
Graham also held a revival at Will Rogers Coliseum that year:
‘Graham crusade opens to 42,300’
From a story about Graham’s 1971 crusade at Texas Stadium, the first event held there
Sept. 18, 1971
By Jim Street
A crowd of 42,300 persons came to Texas Stadium here for the opening night of the Billy Graham Crusade Friday night, and Graham said the crowd may be a record first night for any crusade.
“This is more than we got in Madison Square Garden,” Graham said, “and we thought we had a good crowd there.”
From a Q&A with religion reporter Jim Jones during a Graham visit to Fort Worth:
Nov. 6, 1977
‘A conversation with Billy Graham’
Q. Your friendship with President Nixon is well-known. Do you still visit when you are near his home in California?
A. Yes, I’ve seen him since he resigned I would say four or five times; and I talk to him over the phone once in awhile.
Q. What was your relationship with LBJ?
A. I knew him better than any president, because I knew him in Texas. ... When I came here in 1950 for the first time I met two men who had a profound influence on my life. One was Sid Richardson and the other was Amon Carter, Amon Carter Sr.
Q. You mentioned recently that social action is especially important today. Is this a new view for you?
A. I think that as I have traveled around the world it has increased my concern for social action and social justice and I have come to grips with these problems in other countries of the world. There are people in these big inner cities today who are hurting. And they need our compassion, and the word compassion carries with it the idea that we will do something about it.
From a Bud Kennedy column in advance of Graham’s 2002 crusade at Texas Stadium:
‘Timeless Graham offers us another ride’
Oct. 13, 2002
They don't make preachers like Billy Graham anymore.
"God is giving us one more chance," he told a packed arena here once.
"I don't know when the bloodbath will be upon us. This may be the last union revival ever held in Fort Worth."
The year was 1951.
Billy Graham is back. God is giving us one more chance — one more chance to see the greatest American spiritual leader of the 20th century.
He is more than just a preacher.
He is the human who brought strength to an uncertain America.
From a story about Graham’s Metroplex Mission crusade at Texas Stadium in Irving:
‘A stirring of souls’
Oct. 18, 2002
By David Casstevens
He spoke of a world in turmoil and God's unconditional love. Then, as a vast choir behind him began to sing softly, the most famous preacher of the 20th century extended a hand and offered an invitation, appealing to every troubled heart.
"I'm going to ask you now to come and stand in front of me," Billy Graham said Thursday night, in his gentle rolling drawl.
Just as I am, without one plea ...
“Wherever you are,” he said. “You come now. Come. We'll wait...”
His blue eyes scanned the crowd, estimated at 37,000.
But that Thy blood was shed for me ...
And then, all around him, on this first night of the four-day Metroplex Mission, it began, a predictable stirring, the unfolding scene that has played out at every tent meeting and arena revival where he has preached — and he has delivered the message of salvation around the world — for more than 50 years.
As each stanza beckoned — O Lamb of God, I come — they answered the altar call. They came from the far reaches of Texas Stadium and from all walks of life, streaming down the aisles in droves.
Some came in wheelchairs, some on crutches, others holding hands. They descended the steps to the tarped playing field and moved toward the end zone, 2,000 of them, where the 83-year-old preacher, God's soul winner, waited, seated on a stool behind the pulpit, head bowed in prayer.
A Billy Graham mission is a religious pageant, a kind of ecumenical Super Bowl. Just as an athletic team is measured by games won, the mission will be judged in great part by the numbers — those non-believers and Christians in attendance who make or renew their commitments to God.
From a letter to the editor, written by Billy Graham, to the Star-Telegram:
Nov. 10, 2002
I would like to express my personal appreciation for the extensive coverage given by the Star-Telegram to the Oct. 18-20 Metroplex Mission.
The special Sunday section was tremendous, and I sent a copy to each member of my family.
I enjoyed my interview on the telephone from my home with Jim Jones. Please give him my personal thanks for his great coverage. I really appreciated his warmth and accuracy.
Would you be so kind as to express my thanks to the rest of your staff, especially Brett Hoffman, Patrick McGee and photographer Paul Moseley, and commend them for the wonderful job they did.
I hope your readers will let you know how much they appreciated your generous coverage of the Metroplex Mission at Texas Stadium.
The Rev. Billy Graham, Montreat, N.C.
From a story about Graham’s speaking appearance in post-Katrina New Orleans:
‘Crusades may be over, but Graham is still going strong’
Feb. 2, 2006
By Jim Jones
The evangelist, 87, will appear in New Orleans next month and might speak in Texas in April. We might have guessed it.Billy Graham isn’t fading into the sunset just yet.
He said in June that the New York crusade would be his final one. But the legendary evangelist is scheduled to speak in New Orleans next month. Graham, if his health permits, will address pastors and the general public at his son Franklin Graham’s "Celebration of Hope" rally March 11 and 12 at New Orleans Arena, next to the heavily damaged Louisiana Superdome.
Editor’s note: Jones covered Graham speaking in New Orleans and in April was in College Station when Graham received the Bush Award of Excellence from one of his oldest friends, President George H.W. Bush.
This report includes information from Star-Telegram archives.