Thomas O'Neal Crivens, Sr.
pastor T. O'Neal Crivens was recognized by no less than the President
of the United States. In 1989 he received one of the Thousand Points of
Light award from President George H. W. Bush. He was also recognized by
White House officials as a "hometown hero" for his crime and drug
fighting efforts in Memphis.
Reverend Crivens died August 16, 2012, five years after being diagnosed with ALS.
T. O'Neal Crivens followed in his parents footsteps. His father was a pastor and his mother was operator what is said to have been the first licensed kindergarten for African American children in the city in the 1950s. After college, Rev. Crivens served at a Henning, Tennessee, church then came to Memphis to pastor at Greater Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church from 1984 to 1991. Next he founded Testament of Hope Community Baptist Church and was pastor there for 21 years.
According to family members, Rev. Crivens was often involved in efforts to reduce crime and drug abuse in the community. In 1988, with a grant from the city, he organized a two-day drug education and prevention seminar at his church.