Ken Dean was born in Rogersville, Tennessee on May 25, 1935. As a white, Southern Baptist minister, he went to Mississippi at the end of 1964, where he served as the executive director of the Mississippi Council on Human Relations until 1970. He was a member of First Baptist Church, where Rev. Douglas Hudgins was the lead pastor. In 1965, shortly after he joined First Baptist, Dean's affiliation with the pro-civil rights Mississippi Council was discovered and Dean was rejected by many in the congregation. Dean later served as Al Clayton's guide through the Mississippi Delta as Clayton took photographs for his 1969 book Still Hungry in America. In 1971, Rev. Dean was made president of the Board of Directors Communications Improvement, Incorporated and was in charge of implementing policies of racial integration at WLBT, the NBC affiliate in Jackson, Mississippi until 1980. Rev. Dean moved to Rochester, New York, where he became the assistant to the mayor.
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