Church Formation
Sweet Auburn Avenue

Before the modern Civil Rights Movement, African American men with leadership abilities frequently were attracted to the pulpit because of a lack of opportunity to use these qualities elsewhere. A funneling of leadership abilities produced outstanding spiritual, social and political leaders in the ministry of many African American churches.

1840-Col. Lemuel P. Grants (for whom Grant Park was named) gives Ransom Montgomery and other African Americans property on which to erect their own place of worship. A site was selected on Jenkins Street, where the church stood until Federals destroyed it during the Civil War. Colonel Grant returned the site to them, but it was sold and property on Wheat Street (later called Auburn Ave.) was purchased. Named Big Bethal, the erected house of Worship later was named Bethal Church and finally Big Bethal African Methodist Episcopal Church.
1847- First Congregational Church founded with northern missionaries; this church was instrumental in founding Atlanta University; National Medical Association was founded here in 1890's; 105 Courtland St. 404-659-6255.
1848- Slaves receive permission to attend the first Baptist Church in Atlanta. They are seated in the balcony.
1862- Rev. Frank Quarles organizes the First Colored Baptist Church in Atlanta with 25 members. Services were held initially in a box car near Walton Street. The church later moved to Luckie Street and eventually settled on the corner of Haynes and Market Street. With increasing membership they purchase property on West Mitchell Street and renamed their congregation Friendship Baptist Church.; in 1879 held first classes of the Atlanta Baptist Seminary, known today as Morehouse College; in 1881 Spelman College began in its basement; pastor Rev William V Guy; 437 Mitchell Street, 404-688-0206
1863-Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in only those states that seceded-800,000 remained unfree. Before this time it was illegal for slaves to congregate unless a white person was present.
1868- Mount Zion Baptist Church, the second African-American Baptist organization in Atlanta, is founded.
1882- The West Hunter Street Baptist Church is organized by Rev. J.A. McAllen with a membership of 3.
1882- Rev. S.E. Poe organizes the first Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in Atlanta at 23 Butler Street. It is named the Butler Street C.M.E. Church.; the first African American middleweight boxing champ, Tiger Flowers, was a deacon here; features a breakfast ministry Mon-Fri, food pantry for hungry; 23 Butler St, 404-659-8745
1886- Rev. John Parker organizes the Ebenezer Baptist Church on Airline Street. The church later purchased property on the corner of Auburn and Jackson Streets.
1912- Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church founded; it is Atlanta's oldest Catholic church established for African Americans; 25 Boulevard; 404-522-6776

(to be continued)