Antioch Missionary Baptist Church
|Location||500 Clay St. Houston, TX|
|Area||less than one acre|
|NRHP reference No.||76002038|
|Added to NRHP||December 22, 1976|
Antioch Missionary Baptist Church is a historic Baptist church at 500 Clay St in Downtown Houston, Texas. It was historically a part of the Fourth Ward. As of 2012[update] it was the only remaining piece of the original Fourth Ward east of Interstate 45.
Former slaves organized Houston's first African-American Baptist congregation in January 1866. They initially held services outdoors in the "Brush Arbor" along Buffalo Bayou. The congregation built its first sanctuary in 1867 at the corner of Bagby and Rusk.: 2
It was built in 1875 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
Antioch Baptist Church's location in a long-established African-American neighborhood faced the encroachment of the growing downtown business district by the 1950s. Some of the buildings going up nearby after mid-century include the Allen Center complex and the Hyatt Regency hotel. The church property is a mere two blocks from the freeway and from Sam Houston Park.: 2
As of 2003 the church has a "Jesus Saves" sign. Rod Davis of the San Antonio Express-News said that the presence of the sign, which "still makes a footnote to the downtown skyscrapers," was "evidence that the oldest African American Baptist church (1875) in the city thrives as well as it did when the Rev. Jack Yates, a former slave, served as its first pastor."
According to the church, the original pews, made by hand, are still used.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
- Davis, Rod. "Houston's really good idea Bus tour celebrates communities that forged a city." San Antonio Express-News. Sunday August 3, 2003. Travel 1M. Retrieved on February 11, 2012.
- Lomax, John Nova (July 3, 2012). "Lenwood Johnson: Trying to Save a Last Shred of Freedmen's Town History". Houston Press. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
- Meeks, Tomiko (Spring 2011). "Freedmen's Town, Texas: A Lesson in the Failure of Historic Preservation" (PDF). Houston History. 8 (2): 42–44. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
- Snyder, Mike. "With its rich history, Fourth Ward is strong in symbolism." Houston Chronicle. Sunday January 9, 2000. A24. Retrieved on July 28, 2012.[dead link]
- "Texas SP Antioch Missionary Baptist Church". National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program. National Archives Catalog. Retrieved February 7, 2020. Slow download times.
- "YATES, JOHN HENRY." Handbook of Texas Online.
- Connelly, Richard. "The Eight Most Beautiful Churches in Houston." Houston Press. Wednesday November 9, 2011. 1. Retrieved on November 12, 2011.
- Rice, Jen (May 9, 2019). "7 Houston Landmarks Earn United Nations Historical Designation". Houston Public Media. Retrieved May 11, 2019.