Closings and delays

Greensboro couple reflects on Billy Graham’s 1951 crusade

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Rev. Billy Graham’s ministry had a reach that was beyond borders, preaching to more than 200 million people in more than 185 countries and territories.

Husband and wife, Jack and Rosalee Brewer, heard Graham speak during his Greensboro crusade in 1951.

“It was filled outside every night,” Rosalee said.

The crusade was held at what was the fairgrounds -- now the site of the Greensboro Coliseum.

Rosalee sang in the choir during the crusade.

“I'm sure there were thousands,” she said.

Although she doesn’t remember all the details from that time, more than 60 years later, one thing still stands out.

"It was so powerful. Even though he was up in front of the crowd, you can tell that he was speaking to you,” she said.

Jack got a similar impression when Graham visited what was then Greensboro Senior High School -- now Grimsley High School.

“It was more of a talk than actually preaching, but you listened. He got your attention very quickly,” he said.

Jack went to the fairgrounds to see Graham after that.

Rosalee and Jack both attended the crusade, but they had not met then.

More than half a century later, the Brewers are still appreciative of what they experienced.

“He had that charisma that if he was close, he might not always keep his eye on you, but you knew, he knew you were there,” Rosalee said.