On September 2, 1957, the Reverend Billy Graham concluded his summer crusade in New York City with a massive rally in Times Square. Crowds in excess of one hundred thousand jammed the streets to hear Graham on the final night of an outreach for Christ that began in Madison Square Garden on May 15th. Hundreds of thousands of people heard Billy at the Garden through the summer. He packed Yankee Stadium on July 20th with an overflow crowd of one hundred thousand-plus which included Vice President Richard Nixon, who brought greetings from President Eisenhower. Graham also invited Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to join him on stage the night of July 18th, acknowledging Dr. King as a leader of the “great social revolution going on in the United States today.”
Newspapers in New York City gave the crusade a lot of coverage. ABC decided to sell air time to broadcast crusade services, inaugurating a new approach to evangelism. More people were able to hear and watch Graham’s appeal over the airwaves than in person. Letters and money from viewers across the nation poured in supporting Graham’s cause. Support also came from local Protestant churches and prayer teams formed by Billy’s organization, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The association claimed at its conclusion that the revival had drawn over 2 million attendees and received over 1.5 million letters.
Image Credit: American Broadcasting Company