NEW YORK -- William Augustus Jones, a civil rights activist who preached around the world and served as pastor of Brooklyn's Bethany Baptist Church for more than four decades, died Saturday at his home in Brooklyn of complications from kidney illness, a church spokeswoman said. He was 71.
Mr. Jones, born in Lexington, Ky., was a third-generation minister. He served as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Philadelphia before beginning at Bethany Baptist in 1962.
In the 1960s, he headed the New York office of Operation Breadbasket, a national organization that aimed to improve economic conditions in the black community. He also served as the first chair of the New York chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, founded by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., through which he led a boycott of a grocery chain store he accused of discriminatory policies.
''He was always there for the underdog," said the Rev. Jasper E. Peyton of Bethany Baptist.