Bell Atlantic Helps Fund Public TV Documentary on Rev. Leon Sullivan

Bell Atlantic Helps Fund Public TV Documentary on Rev. Leon Sullivan

Humanitarian Efforts Around the World Chronicled

June 15, 2000


Sharon Shaffer ,

PHILADELPHIA -- The life and achievements of human rights giant and long-time Philadelphia clergyman Rev. Leon Sullivan will be featured this month in a one-hour public television documentary.

Bell Atlantic contributed $50,000 to help underwrite the documentary, along with an $8,500 grant from the Bell Atlantic Foundation for development of a site on the World Wide Web about Sullivan.

Sullivan is perhaps best known for authoring the Sullivan Principles, an international code of equal opportunity. The principles were instrumental in ending racial apartheid in South Africa.

"Rev. Sullivan's life is one that should be chronicled and shared with all who treasure freedom and equal opportunity," said Daniel J. Whelan, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic - Pennsylvania. "It's unusual for Bell Atlantic to fund a film, but this is story that truly needs to be told," Whelan said.

The 60-minute film, "A Principled Man: Reverend Leon Sullivan," will be broadcast on WHYY-TV at 9 p.m. June 21 and will be repeated at 6 p.m. Sunday, June 25.

Sullivan became pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Philadelphia in 1950. During his 38-year tenure, the "Lion of Zion" extended the activities of the church to include a day care center, credit union, employment agency, community center for youth and adults, adult education classes, athletic teams, choral groups and family counseling services.

In 1988, he became Pastor Emeritus in order to spend his time educating, training and feeding the people of the developing nations of the world. Sullivan also helped expand the work of the Opportunities Industrialization Centers (OIC) of America and OIC International. Since its formation in 1964, OIC has provided skills training to over three million people of all races, ages and genders. There currently are 46 OIC centers in 18 countries.

Born in 1922, Sullivan grew up in Charleston, W.Va. He graduated from Garnet High School and West Virginia State College. He holds degrees from Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary. Before coming to Philadelphia in 1950, Sullivan worked closely with the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell in Harlem.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With more than 44 million telephone access lines and more than 20 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.