Louie D. Newton was a prominent Baptist preacher, author, and denominational leader who served as the pastor of Druid Hills Baptist Church in Atlanta for four decades. Known for his stand on temperance, social reform, and fairness, he was often called “Mr. Baptist.”
Born in Screven County on April 27, 1892, Louis Devotie Newton was one of six children born to Dicie Elizabeth and William Moore Newton. He attended elementary and secondary schools in Screven and Emanuel counties, and in 1910 he entered Mercer University in Macon as a sophomore, graduating in 1913. For the next two years he served as a history professor at Mercer, while during the summers he completed his master’s degree at Columbia University in New York City. In 1915 he married Julia Winn Carstarphen, with whom he had two daughters. In 1917, during World War I (1917-18), Newton enlisted in the U.S. Army and provided educational services for soldiers stationed at Camp Wheeler in Macon. During this time he worked with Methodist minister Arthur J. Moore, and the two became lifelong friends.
During the 1920s Newton became very involved with the Baptist Church in Georgia. From 1920 to 1929 he was the editor of the Christian Index , the newspaper of the Georgia Baptist Convention, and in 1929 he accepted the pastorate of Druid Hills Baptist Church. Over the next forty years, Newton held every elective post in the Baptist denomination. He was president of the Georgia Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention, and vice president of the Baptist World Alliance. In addition, he helped found several civic organizations, including the Atlanta Boys’ Club.
Newton was also a prolific author; in 1936 he began writing a daily column titled “Good Morning,” which was published by the Atlanta Constitution and the Savannah Morning News, and for more than sixty-five years he wrote weekly columns for the Christian Index. Newton also published four books: Good Morning (1938), a collection of his reprinted newspaper columns; An American Churchman in the Soviet Union (1947), a collection of reprinted columns written for the Atlanta Journal about his trip to the Soviet Union in 1946; Why I am a Baptist (1957), an autobiography; and Fifty Golden Years, 1909-1958 (1958), a history of the Atlanta Baptist Association. In addition to his written work, Newton also broadcast a radio show on WGST-Atlanta from 1929 until his death in 1986.
Louie D. Newton died on June 3, 1986, at the age of ninety-four, in Atlanta.