Bachelor, Huston-Tillotson University, Austin, 1952. Bachelor's Degree, Southern Methodist University, 1955.
He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Huston-Tillotson University in 1952. He was one of the first five African American graduates of the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in 1955. He became the pastor of Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, California in 1963, and founded the Council on Religion and the Homosexual the following year.
He welcomed everyone to participate in services and hosted political rallies in which Angela Davis and the Black Panthers spoke and lectures by personalities as diverse as Bill Cosby and Billy Graham.
When Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army, Williams attempted to negotiate a deal for her release. In 1967, Williams had the cross removed from the church"s sanctuary, saying it was a symbol of death and that his congregation should instead celebrate life and living.
"We must all be the cross," he explained. Under his leadership, Glide Memorial became a 10,000-member congregation of all races, ages, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and religions.
lieutenant is the largest provider of social services in the city, serving over three thousand meals a day, providing Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome/Human Immunodeficiency Virus screenings, offering adult education programs, and giving assistance to women dealing with homelessness, domestic violence, substance abuse, and mental health issues.
The position was created to allow Williams to officially continue to serve the community and church. In August 2013, the intersection of Ellis and Taylor Streets (location of the Glide church in San Francisco) was renamed "Review Cecil Williams Way" in honor of Williams.
Both Williams and the church are featured in the 2006 film The Pursuit of Happyness.
Married Evelyn Robinson, 1982 (deceased 1981). Children: Albert, Kim. Married Janice Mirikitani, 1982.