See larger ACTS 2:38 OR HELL

It was your choice, according to him, “Acts 2:38 or Hell.”
But if you were ever around the Old City in Knoxville during the ’50s and ’60s, you didn’t really have a choice about seeing him and his message. It was hard to miss. 
He’d rigged a bicycle with cardboard and clear plastic sheeting against the advent of weather and mud puddles. Big white hand-painted letters on poster board or on his umbrella proclaimed his message. 
Working on foot, he’d get ahead of you on a sidewalk so you could read the Acts 2-38 or Hell poster over his back. Then he’d hold up a mirror so he could see your reaction. He always wore sunglasses, so you couldn’t see his.
Clarence Wilson was a black long-time street preacher who died at 77 in a Knoxville nursing home in 1985. Nobody in Knoxville ever knew his name, though. He was always just the “Acts 2:38 or hell guy.”

photo by Don Dudenbostel

ACTS 2:38 OR HELL

It was your choice, according to him, “Acts 2:38 or Hell.”
But if you were ever around the Old City in Knoxville during the ’50s and ’60s, you didn’t really have a choice about seeing him and his message. It was hard to miss.
He’d rigged a bicycle with cardboard and clear plastic sheeting against the advent of weather and mud puddles. Big white hand-painted letters on poster board or on his umbrella proclaimed his message.
Working on foot, he’d get ahead of you on a sidewalk so you could read the Acts 2-38 or Hell poster over his back. Then he’d hold up a mirror so he could see your reaction. He always wore sunglasses, so you couldn’t see his.
Clarence Wilson was a black long-time street preacher who died at 77 in a Knoxville nursing home in 1985. Nobody in Knoxville ever knew his name, though. He was always just the “Acts 2:38 or hell guy.”

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