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Corbitt named 2020 MLK Citizenship Award Winner

posted Dec 24, 2019, 4:58 PM by Bobby Clark   [ updated Dec 24, 2019, 4:59 PM ]
Dr. John H. Corbitt

Greenville, South Carolina -
A native of Salley, South Carolina, Dr. John H. Corbitt received his Bachelor of Arts degree, from South Carolina State University and his Master of Divinity degree, Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta Georgia. Dr. Earned the Doctor of Ministry degree, McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago Illinois, and studied at Vanderbilt University and Yale University.

He pastored at several churches including, Bells Chapel Baptist Church in Bells Tennessee, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, in Little Rock Arkansas and Springfield Baptist Church, Greenville, South Carolina, where he retired in 2011. He served a Dean of National Baptist Student Union Retreat (1973-1996), and served as President South Carolina Baptist Congress of Christian Education and Greater Greenville Ministerial Association. During his time in in Greenville, he became well known for his leadership and mentorship of others who were fighting for civil rights in the Upstate. He was instrumental in the creation of the Greenville Branch of the NACCP and Greenville Urban League which was founded at Springfield during his tenure. 

In 2001, Dr. Corbitt was appointed by South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges to Trustee Board of South Carolina State University and re-elected by the State Legislature in 2003, 2007, and 2011. He is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Dr. Corbitt was honored in 1988 by the Governor of South Carolina with presentation of the Order of the Palmetto - the highest honor that can be stowed upon a citizen of South Carolina. Later in 1992, he was honored by Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas with the Arkansas Travelers Awards, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a visitor to Arkansas.

He was named “Alumnus of the Year” in 1990 by McCormick Theological Seminary and to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers of Morehouse College in 1992. He is the author of the book “Black Churches Reaching College Students, 1995, published by National Baptist Sunday School Board, and is listed on “Who’s Who Among Black Americans”, "Personalities of the South", and "Who’s Who in Religion in American". His wife of 51 years, Betty Starks Corbitt and his younger son, Terry, preceded him in death. He has one son, Bruce, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

We are extremely proud have selected an outstanding Educator, Pastor, and Civil Rights Leader as our 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Citizenship Award winner. 
Please join us as we honor his work at the 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Luncheon on Saturday, January 11, 2020. 


Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African-Americans, was founded at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York on December 4, 1906. The Gamma Gamma Lambda Chapter was chartered on August 24, 1941, in Greenville, South Carolina under the Umbrella of the National Organization and the first African-American Greek-Letter Alumni Chapter in the Upstate of South Carolina.

Established in 2012 as a public 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempted organization, Alpha Phi Alpha Greenville Foundation's mission is to aid the poor and disadvantaged and help them toward a life of self-sufficiency. Our programs address teenage pregnancy prevention, college preparation & awareness, educational scholarships, youth leadership development, and other similar programs. We serve the Upstate area of South Carolina and are affiliated with the Gamma Gamma Lambda Chapter of ΑΦΑ in Greenville, South Carolina.