Reverend Samuel Berry McKinney graduated from Morehouse in 1949 and went on to graduate from New York's Colgate Rochester Divinity School in 1952. He received his Doctor of Ministry Degree from the Colgate Rochester/Bexley Hall/Crozier Theological Seminaries (Rochester) in 1975.
McKinney served as pastor of Seattle's Mount Zion Baptist Church from 1958 until his retirement in 1998, and provided the longest continuous pastorship in the history of the church. Rev. McKinney was a civil rights leader as well as a minister, and did much to shape the conscience of Seattle.