By David Robichaud

BOSTON (CBS) – The late Rev. Billy Graham had a long history with the city of Boston. He died Wednesday morning at his home in Montreat, North Carolina. He was 99.

In 1950, he held a gathering on Boston Common that drew 50,000 people despite freezing temperatures.

“One thing Billy Graham did was unite people,” said Boston University Theology Professor Dana Robert.

graham2 Rev. Billy Graham Had Long History With Boston

Rev. Billy Graham speaks on Boston Common (WBZ-TV)

Graham also spoke to more than 30,000 at Boston University’s Nickerson Field in 1982. One of his topics was race relations.

“Because of the rioting and busing in the 1970’s here, Boston had a terrible reputation for race relations. So it was natural for him to address the students,” said Professor Robert.

After Watergate, Rev. Graham held a prayer breakfast in Boston to urge politicians like Governor Francis Sargent to “restore moral integrity” after the scandal.

“He had a lot of friends, including Presidents, which was not good when it came to Nixon,” said Professor Robert. Dana Robert heard Rev. Graham preach when she was a girl growing up in Louisiana.

She said, “It’s a blessing he’s been released to be with Jesus.”

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