A young boy’s inspiration

Since Atlanta’s early days, religion and spirituality have been key factor in the lives of many Atlantans. In some cases, the influence of religion spilled over into other aspects of the city’s development.

One clear example of this is the case of Friendship Baptist Church and its founding minister, Reverend Frank Quarles. Today, Friendship holds services in a modern facility but, more than a century and a half ago, the Friendship Baptist Church held its services in a boxcar.

Despite these meager beginnings, Friendship had a far-reaching impact, serving as a stepping stone for not one but three of Atlanta’s historic institutions of higher learning. The Church was the founding location for Atlanta University and Spelman College and it also served as the first Atlanta location for the school that would become Morehouse College.

But Reverend Quarles was not the only influential minister in Atlanta’s past. More recently, a longtime pastor of an Atlanta institution had an effect far beyond the walls of his church. That minister, and one life in particular that he touched, is the subject of this week’s Stories of Atlanta.

Lance Russell is an Atlanta-based filmmaker and media communicator who, for over three decades, has been entrusted by clients to tell their stories. A seasoned producer with an innate ability to cut to the heart of the matter, Lance’s instincts are tailor-made for today’s “media bite” culture. Brief, poignant and always entertaining, Lance’s current passion is bringing Atlanta’s colorful and inspiring past to life with his “rest of the story” style video series, Stories of Atlanta. “History’s best communicators,” says Lance, “have always been storytellers. It’s in our DNA. ‘Once upon a time’ is how we got to where we are now.”

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