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These buildings are often called "Storefront Churches" because they are buildings that were previously commercial properties that have been converted to a religious use.
Often, the inside of the building was converted by putting in chairs and a makeshift pulpit. The storefront church sometimes serves as a hub for many poor African Americans to see leadership in an all black area. Many storefronts emerged in the urban centers of the north and were filled with poor former slaves leaving the harsh memories of their former lives behind. Storefront churches are a center of social development and free speech in many poor African American communities to express their feelings about the struggles and hardships they faced every day in their lives. They also can provide a focus point for community unity and engagement.
Storefronts are still very much a part of the Black church experience today; furthermore, the storefront church has also emerged within other cultures. A PBS report said “Storefront churches today are not just black and urban. Many have recently been established in Latino- and Asian-dominated neighborhoods, as well as poorer rural communities, typically serving similar functions as the storefront churches in historically black communities.”