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)