Wheat Street Baptist Church
365 Auburn Avenue
Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic District
Rebuilt: after 1917 fire approx. 1920-23
Architectural Style: The Church Building represents
a late adaptation of the Gothic Revival style.
Original Use: Has been an important spiritual/social
institution in the Sweet Auburn Ave. Community since inception.
The church contains 22 class and department rooms, a vault
and 2,500 seats in the main auditorium.
Readaptive Use: Continues functioning as a community
1894- J.S. Brandon begins plans to organize a Young
Men's Christian Association. A group of young people meet
in the basement of the Wheat Street Baptist Church to formalize
the group. Brandon is elected president and his sister-in-law,
Hattie Askidge, is elected organist. The dominant activity
during the early years was song and prayer on Sunday afternoons.
1917- The fire of 1917 wipes out the original Church
as well as much of north eastern Atlanta.
1921-August. Construction begins on the new Wheat Street
Baptist Church at the corner of Auburn Ave. and Yonge St.
(Now William Holmes Borders Dr.) The church would contain
22 class and department rooms, a vault and 2,500 seats in
the main auditorium. Rev. Peter James was pastor. The Church
has been in its finished state since 1939.
1936 -the late Rev. Peter J. Bryant (he originally sold Alonzo
Herndon the Atlanta Benevolent &
Protective Association) was replaced by the demonstrative
young preacher from Macon, The Rev. William Holmes Borders.
Late 1930's From Parting the
Waters by Taylor Branch p53-54.
1961 From Parting the Waters
by Taylor Branch p301-302.
The Circle Be Unbroken? Originally from WRFG-FM/"Living
Atlanta" Collection, courtesy of Atlanta History Center,
NARRATOR: The Voters League would interview candidates
and endorse those who best-supported black interests.
MAYNARD JACKSON: So these white candidates would come
to Wheat Street Baptist Church at midnight at the beginning
of election day, sit on that front pew and pray that they
got named to the ticket because when the program was over
the ticket went out by a network they had established to every
black voter in Atlanta. Every one...
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