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Eddie K. Edwards papers: 1988-2015, undated
Summary Information
Title: Eddie K. Edwards papers
Creator: Edwards, Eddie K.
Dates: 1988-2015, undated
Extent: 0.2 linear feet, 51.49 GB (online), 1 oversize folder
Reverend Eddie K. Edwards (1936-2004) was a Christian preacher and community activist in Detroit, Michigan. In 1976, he founded the Joy of Jesus faith-based nonprofit organization in Detroit. This organization sought to help Detroit residents—primarily urban youth—through a summer camp and other programs, like the Ravendale Area Revitalization Project (R.A.R.E.). He was married to Dr. Mary D. Edwards, who was involved in Joy of Jesus and who currently serves as an author, life coach, and minister. The collection includes ten digital recordings of interviews and television programs featuring Rev. Eddie K. Edwards, Joy of Jesus publications, biographical information about Rev. Edwards, as well as papers related to the ministry of his wife, Dr. Mary D. Edwards.
Call number: 2016014 Aa 2 Ac
Language: The material is in English.
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid created by Benjamin Bond in January, 2016; Steven Gentry, April 2021.

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Donated by Dr. Mary D. Edwards (donor no. 11226) in January 2015 and January 2017.

Access Restrictions:

Collection is open for research. Access to some online videos are restricted to the Bentley Historical Library's reading room.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.


Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Processing Information:

In preparing digital material for long-term preservation and access, the Bentley Historical Library adheres to professional best practices and standards to ensure that content will retain its authenticity and integrity. For more information on procedures for the ingest and processing of digital materials, please see Bentley Historical Library Digital Processing Note. Access to digital material may be provided either as a direct link to an individual file or as a downloadable package of files bundled in a zip file.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Eddie K. Edwards papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.

[item], [URL], Eddie K. Edwards papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


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.

Collection Scope and Content Note

Audio-visual materials include a documentary by broadcast journalist Mort Crim, an audio recording of an interview with Edwards by Evangelical radio host Al Kresta in "A Vision for our Detroit", a video recording of a sermon delivered by Edwards at the Second Chapel Hill Baptist Church in Detroit, a video recording of the first annual Friends of Joy of Jesus Banquet in 1991, an episode from the Christian Television Network (CTN Live!) featuring Edwards, a Detroit Public TV program entitled "A Neighborhood Redeemed", a Sue Marx Film in which Edwards is presented the 1991 Winning Ways Award, and a few videos made by the church including an interview with Caroline Thomas and Bob Ivory, a "New Child Development Plan" as described by Edwards, and a program highlighting Joy of Jesus' plan for solving urban decay presented in "A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out".

The manuscript part of the collection contains Edwards's biographical information, letters received on the occasion of Rev. Edward's retirement, and memorial publications and articles. Of special interest is the 1996 publication "Re-Neighborhooding Revitalization Manual for the Re-Neighborhooding Detroit Program." The manual was based on the results of a survey conducted among the residents of a 38-block area of Ravendale community on the east side of Detroit, near the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Also included are digital images of a Point of Light award, memorial for Rev. Edwards, and an "Others" Award from the Salvation Army.

The collection also includes papers of Dr. Mary Edwards that document her work and activities. Namely, materials related to the LEGACY event, her consulting company Leaves of Gold, and a business card. Dr. Edwards' papers include a collection of her writings that document the history of Joy of Jesus Ministries. Of special interest is the description of the 52-questions needs assessment survey that was prepared and conducted by Dr. Edwards. This project resulted in the 1996 "Re-Neighborhooding Revitalization Manual."

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.

  • African American churches -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • African American women -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • African American youth -- Religious life -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • African Americans -- Economic conditions -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • African Americans -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • Civic leaders.
  • Detroit (Mich.)
  • Preachers -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • Spiritual leaders -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • Urban renewal -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • Urban youth -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • Digital file formats.
  • Interviews.
  • Radio programs.
  • Sound recordings.
  • Television programs.
  • Video recordings.
  • Edwards, Eddie K.
  • Joy of Jesus (Detroit, Mich.)
  • Crim, Mort.
  • Kresta, Al.
  • Sue, Marx.
  • Edwards, Mary Darlene.
  • Edwards, Mary Darlene.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
Eddie K. Edwards papers [series]
Box   1  
Biographical information 2004-2015
Box   1  
Dr. Mary D. Edwards
Box   1  
Community work and activities undated
Box   1  
Writings 1993 and undated
Oversize Folder   1  
Memorial article 2004
Box   1  
Retirement 2001
Box   1  
Ministry publications 1988-2004
Television programs
CTN Live!  [Restricted to BHL Reading Room]

(Host: Glenn Plummer, Topic: Daddy's Girl, Guest: Eddie and Mary Edwards, With Judge Donald Coleman)

[access item]
Joy of Jesus Documentary, Mort Crim  [Restricted to BHL Reading Room] [access item]
A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out  [Restricted to BHL Reading Room] [access item]
Winning Ways Awards 1991 [Restricted to BHL Reading Room] [access item]
Ministry audio visual materials
A Vision for Our Detroit [access item]
New Child Development Program [access item]
Joy of Jesus Interviews: Caroline Thomas, Bob Ivory [access item]
A Neighborhood Redeemed 2004 [access item]
Second Chapel Hill Leader's Management Training Session 1996 [access item]
The 1995 Annual Friends of Joy of Jesus Banquet 1995 [access item]
Awards and life display undated [access item]