David Leroy "D.L." Dykes, Jr., was the senior pastor from 1955-1984 of the large First United Methodist Church in Shreveport, Louisiana. He is remembered for his early television ministry, his appeal to racial moderation during the tense years of the civil rights movement, and his liberal theological views.
Dykes was born in Pleasant Hill in Sabine Parish in northwestern Louisiana to David L. Dykes, Sr. and the former Ruby Perley. He graduated from Pleasant Hill High School in 1934 and Centenary College, the Methodist-affiliated undergraduate school in Shreveport, in 1938. His first religious position was as a Young Men's Christian Association secretary in Atlanta, where he attended the graduate school of Emory University, having received his bachelor of divinity degree there in 1942. He served as the pastor of churches in Zwolle in Sabine Parish and Fayetteville, Arkansas, before he returned to Shreveport to accept the pastorate at First Methodist. Centenary awarded him a doctor of divinity degree in 1952.