[February 6, 2012] Earliest African Baptist Church in America

An interesting article on a Virginia news website relates the story of the African Baptist Church of Williamsburg, Virginia, considered to be the oldest African Baptist church in America started by Africans. Benjamin Franklin played a role in laying the foundations for the church. From secret meetings held in the dark in the 1770s, and despite arrest and public whippings, the congregation persevered to become a respected church in the city.

Colonial Williamsburg, in its living history program, celebrates the story and legacy of the African Baptist congregation.

In 1922, an article in the Journal for Negro History summarized “The Evolution of the Negro Baptist Church.” For those interested in documents pertaining to the history of early African churches in Virginia, the Library of Virginia has assembled a research guide.

Photo from the news article