List of Baptist churches in Alabama

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Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, pastored by Martin Luther King, Jr. and used as a base of operations during the Civil Rights Movement.

This is a list of Baptist churches in the U.S. state of Alabama that are notable because they are National Historic Landmarks (NHL), listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage (ARLH), or are otherwise significant for their history, association with significant events or people, or their architecture and design.[1][2][3][4][5]

Baptist churches have been centers of worship and leadership in the state from the Mississippi Territorial period onward. Early Baptist churches were usually biracial in membership, although the African American members were almost always slaves belonging to the white congregants.[6] The church buildings were often simple and unadorned. As the pioneer period faded and society developed, the churches tended to reflect the social order of southern society via gender, class, and racial divisions. Sometimes there were separate entrance doors for male and female members, with members remaining separated by gender inside. In wealthier communities, the more well-to-do members usually had reserved seats in the front. Slaves were always relegated to the rear or a mezzanine gallery in the building.[6]

Baptist churches played pivotal roles in such issues as national divisions over the issue of slavery and the Civil Rights Movements. The Alabama Baptist Convention formed in 1823, only a few years after statehood, and helped lead the breakaway of southern Baptist churches from their northern counterparts many years prior to the outbreak of the American Civil War. The Alabama convention, along with Baptist conventions in other southern states, formed the Southern Baptist Convention after the breakup over the legality of slavery.[7] Considered by Southern Baptists in Alabama as one of the most important churches during the early years of statehood is the Siloam Baptist Church in Marion. The congregation was established in 1822. The current brick Greek Revival building was completed in 1848.[5] It is considered by Baptist leaders in the state as one of the most important mother churches of many of Alabama's Baptist institutions and churches because members of this church were instrumental in establishing both Judson College in 1838 and Howard College, now Samford University, in 1841. Judson College remains in Marion, while Howard College was moved to Birmingham in 1887 and was later renamed Samford University.[8][9]

Although some African American Baptist churches formed in Alabama's cities prior to the Civil War, such as the St. Louis Street Missionary Baptist Church that formed in 1836 in Mobile, most African Americans in Alabama separated from white-dominated churches and set up their own congregations after the war and end of slavery.[6][10] African American Baptist congregations in Alabama played an important primary role in the civil rights movements in the United States.[11] The St. Louis Street Missionary Baptist Church was host to the seventh Colored Baptist Convention of Alabama in 1874, a meeting that lead to the formation of Selma University in 1878.[11] The Dexter Avenue Baptist Church is a National Historic Landmark near the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery.[12] Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. helped to organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the church's basement.[13] The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church is nationally known as the site of a Civil Rights-era bombing that killed four young girls. The church had served as an organizational headquarters, site of mass meetings and rallying point for blacks protesting widespread institutionalized racism in Birmingham.[14] It is also recognized as a National Historic Landmark due to the fact that the tragedy marked a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement and contributed to the public outcry that added support for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.[10][15][16][17]

In 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention voted to adopt a resolution that renounced its racist roots and apologized for its past defense of slavery. Alabama Baptist Convention churches and denominational leadership were supportive of this apology.[18][19] In the first decade of the 21st century, two out of every three church members in Alabama and more than two-fifths of all residents consider themselves Baptists, with 1.1 million belonging to the churches in the Southern Baptist Convention and another 750,000, primarily African Americans, belonging to a variety of other Baptist associations.[6] Following the April 2011 tornado outbreaks in Alabama, many Alabama Baptist churches of all races were active in providing relief to the victims.[20][21]

Name Image Historic register Locality County Notes
Ackerville Baptist Church of Christ Ackerville Baptist Church of Christ 02.jpg NRHP-listed Ackerville Wilcox Built in 1848. Significant as an example of Greek Revival architecture in a rural religious building.[5]
Aimwell Baptist Church Aimwell Baptist Church 01.jpg NRHP-listed Mobile Mobile Congregation established in 1890, current building built in 1946. Significant as an early African American Baptist congregation.[5]
Bethel Baptist Church Bethel Baptist Church.jpg NRHP-listed Birmingham Jefferson Significant for its participation in the Civil Rights Movement.[5][14]
Canaan Baptist Church NRHP-listed Bessemer Jefferson Significant for its participation in the Civil Rights Movement.[5][14]
County Line Baptist Church County Line Baptist Church Dudleyville Alabama.JPG NRHP-listed Dudleyville vicinity Chambers Built in 1889.[5]
Dexter Avenue Baptist Church Dexter Baptist-367.jpg NHL and NRHP-listed Montgomery Montgomery Built in 1883–89.[5] Significant for its association with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and its participation in the Civil Rights Movement.
East End Baptist Church NRHP-listed Birmingham Jefferson Significant for its participation in the Civil Rights Movement.[5][14]
Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church EbenezerMissionaryBaptistChurchAuburnAlabama.JPG NRHP-listed Auburn Lee Current building completed in 1908. It was the first African American congregation founded in the Auburn area, in 1865.[5]
First African Baptist Church NRHP-listed Tuscaloosa Tuscaloosa Built in 1907.[5] Significant for its participation in the Civil Rights Movement.
First Baptist Church, East Thomas NRHP-listed Birmingham Jefferson Significant for its participation in the Civil Rights Movement.[5][14]
First Baptist Church, Kingston NRHP-listed Birmingham Jefferson Significant for its participation in the Civil Rights Movement.[5][14]
First Baptist Church of Bay Minette NRHP-listed Bay Minette Baldwin Built in 1853.[5]
First Baptist Church of Greenville NRHP-listed Greenville Butler Built in 1908.[5]
First Baptist Church of Huntsville Eggbeater Jesus in Huntsville.jpg Huntsville Madison Established in 1809, the oldest Southern Baptist church in Alabama. Current building completed in 1960.[22]
First Baptist Church of Montgomery First baptist ripley.jpg ARLH-listed Montgomery Montgomery Established in 1866 as one of the first African American churches in Montgomery.[23] Current building completed in 1915.[4]
First Baptist Church of Selma First Baptist Church of Selma, Alabama.jpg NRHP-listed Selma Dallas Built in 1894.[5] Significant for its participation in the Civil Rights Movement.
First Baptist Church of Wetumpka First Baptist Wetumpka Sept10 01.jpg NRHP-listed Wetumpka Elmore Congregation formed in 1821. Now part of a larger campus, the historic original church building is significant for its architecture, which combines Greek Revival and Gothic Revival motifs, and was built in 1852.[5][24]
First Ebenezer Baptist Church NRHP-listed Birmingham Jefferson Significant for its participation in the Civil Rights Movement.[5][14]
Montgomery Hill Baptist Church NRHP-listed Tensaw Baldwin Built in 1914.[5]
Mount Ararat Baptist Church NRHP-listed Birmingham Jefferson Significant for its participation in the Civil Rights Movement.[5][14]
Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church No.1 02.jpg NRHP-listed Mobile Mobile Built in 1916. Significant as an early African American Baptist church.[5]
Mount Zion Baptist Church NRHP-listed Anniston Calhoun Built in 1890.[5]
New Hope Baptist Church NRHP-listed Beatrice Monroe Built in 1870.[5]
New Pilgrim Baptist Church NRHP-listed Birmingham Jefferson Significant for its participation in the Civil Rights Movement.[5][14]
New Rising Star Baptist Church NRHP-listed Birmingham Jefferson Significant for its participation in the Civil Rights Movement.[5][14]
Parker Memorial Baptist Church NRHP-listed Anniston Calhoun Built in 1888.[5]
Peace Baptist Church NRHP-listed Birmingham Jefferson Significant for its participation in the Civil Rights Movement.[5][14]
St. Louis Street Missionary Baptist Church St. Louis Street Missionary Baptist Church Mobile.jpg NRHP-listed Mobile Mobile Founded by African Americans in 1836, the current building was completed in 1931. Significant for the age of its congregation, its architecture, and its leadership in African American education.[5]
Sardis Baptist Church NRHP-listed Birmingham Jefferson Significant for its participation in the Civil Rights Movement.[5][14]
Sardis Baptist Church Sardis Baptist Church Union Springs Alabama.JPG NRHP and ARLH-listed Union Springs Calhoun Built in 1850.[5]
Shady Grove Baptist Church NRHP-listed Birmingham Jefferson Significant for its participation in the Civil Rights Movement.[5][14]
Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church Notasulga Alabama.JPG NRHP and ARLH-listed Notasulga Macon Built in 1916. Site for some the infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiments.[4][5]
Siloam Baptist Church Siloam Baptist in Marion Alabama.jpg NRHP-listed Marion Perry Congregation established in 1822. Current building completed in 1848.[5] Considered by Southern Baptist leaders in the state as a mother church of many Alabama Baptist institutions and churches.[9]
Sixteenth Street Baptist Church 16th Street Baptist Church.JPG NHL and NRHP-listed Birmingham Jefferson Built in 1911. Significant for its participation in the Civil Rights Movement.[5][14]
Stone Street Baptist Church Stone Street Baptist Church 02.jpg NRHP-listed Mobile Mobile Established in 1843 when the historically white Saint Anthony Street Baptist Church purchased property for the use of an African branch of the church. Current structure built in 1909. Significant for its architecture and as an early and influential African American Baptist church.[5]
West End Hills Missionary Baptist Church NRHP-listed Birmingham Jefferson Significant for its participation in the Civil Rights Movement.[5][14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation," (PDF), National Register Bulletins, National Park Service. Retrieved March 22, 2007.
  2. ^ National Park Service (April 2007). "National Historic Landmarks Survey: List of National Historic Landmarks by State" (PDF). Archived from the original on June 9, 2007. Retrieved May 20, 2007. 
  3. ^ National Park Service. "National Historic Landmark Program: NHL Database". Retrieved August 14, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c "The Alabama Register of Landmarks & Heritage". preserveala.org. Alabama Historical Commission. April 1, 2013. Archived from the original on April 28, 2013. Retrieved April 28, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  6. ^ a b c d Wayne Flynt (October 13, 2010). "Southern Baptists in Alabama". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Auburn University. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  7. ^ Baker, Robert A. "Southern Baptist Beginnings," 2001 Baptist History and Heritage Society.
  8. ^ Harris, W. Stuart (1991). Heritage of Perry County. Marion, Alabama: Perry County Historical and Preservation Society. pp. 70–92. 
  9. ^ a b Wilson, Mabel Ponder (1973). Some Early Alabama Churches. Marion, Alabama: Alabama Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. pp. 134–144. ISBN 978-0-88428-029-3. 
  10. ^ a b "Sixteenth Street Baptist Church". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved October 28, 2007. 
  11. ^ a b Savage, Beth L.; Carol D. Shull (1994). African American historic places. Washington, D.C.: Preservation Press. pp. 92–98. ISBN 0-89133-253-7. 
  12. ^ "Dexter Avenue Baptist Church". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. September 18, 2007. 
  13. ^ Marcia M. Greenlee (July 1973). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Dexter Avenue Baptist Church". National Park Service. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Alabama 1933–1979 MPS". National Register of Historic Places. National Park System. 
  15. ^ Amie A. Spinks (November 2004) National Historic Landmark Nomination: Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, National Park Service
  16. ^ "Nation’s Shame". The Milwaukee Sentinel. September 16, 1963. 
  17. ^ "We Shall Overcome Historic Places of the Civil Rights Movement". National Public Radio. Retrieved November 19, 2007. 
  18. ^ http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/amResolution.asp?ID=899
  19. ^ This Side of Heaven: Race, Ethnicity, and Christian Faith. Ed. Robert J. Priest and Alvaro L. Nieves. Oxford University Press, 2007, pp. 275 and 339
  20. ^ ""Alabama's Katrina": Death Toll from Devastating Tornado Outbreak Nears 300". Black Christian News. April 29, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Southern Baptist Disaster Relief". Alabama State Board of Mission. Alabama Baptist Convention. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  22. ^ "First Baptist Church (Huntsville): Building Information". 
  23. ^ Williams, Donnie; Wayne Greenhaw (2006). The thunder of angels: the Montgomery bus boycott and the people who broke the back of Jim Crow. Chicago Review Press. p. 101. ISBN 978-1-55652-590-2. 
  24. ^ "First Baptist Church of Wetumpka Listed to the National Register of Historic Places". PreserveALA. Alabama Historical Commission. December 30, 2008. Retrieved May 14, 2011.