People remembered the life and legacy of the Late Reverend Robert Wesby, Aurora’s drum major for justice, with a memorial banquet and gospel concert recently.
Reverend Wesby was born in Chicago in 1927. He was educated in the Chicago Public School system and attended Garrett Theological Seminary at Northwestern University. He came to Aurora in 1955 to become Pastor of Main Street Baptist Church. Under his leadership the church grew and many auxiliaries were formed. He served the Main Baptist congregation until 1963.
In 1963, Reverend Wesby became the Pastor of Progressive Baptist Church. Progressive started with eleven members and grew and flourished under his pastorate. Pastor Wesby died in 1988.
Reverend Wesby was a civil rights pioneer and a beloved community leader throughout the Fox Valley area. He was an active participant in the civil rights movement and was arrested in Jackson,
Mississippi in 1961 for participating in a “Freedom Ride” on the Illinois Central Railroad. He brought many social services to the Aurora community. He helped organize the Aurora Urban League, the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry, the Marie Wilkinson Child Development Center, and Aurora’s first blood bank. He was a crusader for open housing and equal employment opportunities and a staunch supporter of educational and youth programs.