Dr. Benjamin W. Robertson, Sr., Pastor Emeritus of Cedar Street Baptist Church of God (CSBC) passed away February 20, 2011 at the age of 79.
Dr. Robertson began preaching in 1948 at the age of 17. He pastored Cedar Street Baptist Church from 1955 until his retirement in 2007. During his tenure at Cedar Street, the congregation grew from approximately 200 to over 2,000 members, becoming the largest church in the City of Richmond and one of the largest churches in the state of Virginia.
He obtained accolades as the most renowned, influential and respected Black minister in Richmond. Under his leadership, Cedar Street obtained national prominence.
Dr. Robertson has been described by those who knew him well as a visionary, organizer, scholar, charismatic preacher and determined God fearing leader. Dr. Robertson is the founder of the Richmond Virginia Seminary, founder of the National Christian Education Convention and served as President of Virginia Seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia. He is known as one of a handful of members that broke away from the National Baptist Convention in 1961 to found the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC) to support the NAACP and Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Robertson was appointed to the U.S. Commission on Brown vs. the Board of Education’s 50th Anniversary Committee by President George Bush. He was the only minister on the elite committee of 16 to serve. Additionally, Dr. Robertson is a a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Dr. Robertson received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from The Virginia State Baptist Convention. He was appointed to numerous influential community outreach positions by President George W. Bush, Virginia state governors and Richmond mayors. He is the author of two books, JUST AS HE PROMISED and LEAD BY THE SPIRIT. He also appeared in the film documentary, THE PERFECT CANDIDATE. Dr. Robertson also graced the cover of Educational Pathways Magazine that included historical legends such as Harriett Tubman, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall and many others.
This influential leader received Bachelor degrees from Virginia Union University. A Master of Divinity from Virginia Seminary and College in Lynchburg, Doctor of Ministry and Doctor of Divinity from Virginia Seminary and College. He also earned a Doctor of Laws from Union Baptist Seminary in Houston, Texas, and a Doctor of Humane Letters from Virginia Union University. Additionally, he studied Special Education at VA State University.
A Roanoke native, Dr. Robertson is survived by his beloved and devoted wife of over 52 years, Dolores Wallace Robertson, whom he affectionately called “Sugar”. He was preceded in Death by his son, Benjamin W. Robertson, Jr.
Dr. Robertson will be deeply missed and remembered always by friends and members of the Cedar Street Baptist Church congregation whose lives he touched in a very profound way. Family visitation is scheduled for Sunday, February 27, 2011 at Cedar Street Baptist Church from 4-6pm. The funeral is scheduled for Monday, February 28, 2011, at Cedar Street Baptist Church at 11 am located at 2301 Cedar Street, Richmond, Virginia.