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Eddie K. Edwards papers: 1988-2015, undated
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Biography

Reverend Eddie Karl Edwards was born on June 1, 1936 in Detroit, Michigan, to Eddie Edwards and Lafrance Hider. He later studied at Detroit's Northeastern High School.

Prior to 1976, Edwards worked at various other institutions, including AT&T. Early in his ministry, he also worked with Project Start, a nonprofit agency that assisted people who completed their prison sentences find jobs. He left Project Start in 1976 to found Joy of Jesus—also known as Joy of Jesus Inc., Joy of Jesus ministry, and Joy of Jesus ministries—a faith-based nonprofit organization that began as an after-school program. Joy for Jesus sought to improve the lives of Detroit's children and young adults. It held Bible study classes as well as operated a summer camp and other recreational and skill-building programs aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty.

While serving at Joy of Jesus, Edwards—who was eventually ordained as a Baptist minister—also began the Ravendale Area Revitalization Project (R.A.R.E.) program in circa 1987. Sponsored by Joy of Jesus, and co-led by Rev. Edwards and Ravendale resident Toni McIlwain, R.A.R.E. was a neighborhood revitalization program that focused on reversing the urban decay and poverty of the Detroit east side community of Ravendale. R.A.R.E. also connected Ravendale's community members and suburban Detroit residents. Rev. Edwards was also involved in several other organizations, such as the education-focused Detroit Partnership for Parental Choice, a citizens' group known as the Metropolitan Detroit Anti-Crime Coalition, and the Michigan Neighborhood Partnership. He stepped down as president of Joy of Jesus in 2001 and began a new project aimed at linking churches and schools to tutor students. Edwards died in 2004.

Rev. Edwards received several awards and accolades during his life. In 1989, he was named Michiganian of the Year by The Detroit News. For their efforts on the R.A.R.E. project, former President George H.W. Bush awarded the Daily Point of Light Award to Rev. Edwards and McIlwain in 1990. Additionally, in 1991, Rev. Edwards received the Winning Ways Awards and joined the Wayne County Winners Circle.

Reverend Eddie K. Edwards's wife, Dr. Mary Darlene Edwards, has been his close collaborator. She was born in Toronto, migrated to the United States as a child, and later attended Northwestern High School as well as the Detroit Business Institute (1960-1962). Dr. Edwards married Rev. Edwards in circa 1982. While Rev. Edwards led Joy of Jesus, she worked in various Joy of Jesus programs and founded numerous organizations, including The Called and Ready Writers Christian writers group in circa 1999 as well as several ministries. After the death of Rev. Edwards, Dr. Edwards established Widows with Wisdom—a support and consulting organization dedicated to improving the lives of widows—in 2004. She also serves as director of the Leaves of Gold publishing and consulting company, which she founded in circa 2007. She has contributed to the Michigan Chronicle, served in roles ranging from author to minister, and is a recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Salvation Army's "Others" award.

In circa 2016, Dr. Edwards received her Doctor of Divinity Degree from Destiny Christian University.