Lawyer and Civil Rights Activist Dwain Kyles has a story to tell. His life began on the Westside of Chicago, where he was born to the Reverend Samuel “Billy” Kyles, the same Rev. Kyles who witnessed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dwain Kyles’s life is closely intertwined with and influenced by his father. From the reverend, Kyles learned how to establish priorities, set goals, and focus on what was most important.
Rev. Kyles settled with his family in Memphis, Tennessee, where everything was still segregated. He played an instrumental part in the de-segregation of Memphis’s city buses, including being arrested for refusing to stay in the Colored section. What started with city buses led to restaurants and other public places.
Rev. Kyles became the founding pastor of Monumental Baptist Church. His political involvement continued as he worked to eliminate runoff elections, which hurt minority candidates trying to make a difference. He formed Operation PUSH, a civil rights organization dedicated to saving humanity. Finally, Rev. Kyles became a board member of the National Civil Rights Museum, located at the same place where Dr. King was assassinated.
Dwain Kyles worked hard to follow in his father’s footsteps. He went to Lake Forest in Chicago before attending law school and passing the bar in both Tennessee and Illinois. He held various jobs in the local government and worked with local Colored entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
To this day, Dwain Kyles seeks to live up to the work his father did. When Rev. Kyles was interviewed about Dr. King’s death, he said, “You can kill the dreamer… but you cannot kill the dream.” Dwain Kyles seeks every day to keep the dream alive.