First Baptist Church on M. L. K. Street at Selma, AL (built c. 1894, listed on the NRHP)

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This Gothic Revival-style church building was constructed in 1894 by a local black architect, Dave Benjamin West. This church, along with its nearby neighbor, Brown Chapel AME Church, played pivotal roles in the Selma marches that helped lead to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Brown Chapel served as headquarters for the marches. First Baptist was the financial headquarters of the Voting Rights movement. Among other things, it served as the center for the distribution of food and clothing donated for supporters of the movement. The First Baptist Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) on September 20, 1979. It is the starting point of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic Walking Tour. The church is located at 709 Martin Luther King, Jr. Street (GPS coordinates 32.414367,-87.017953).

Sources: 1) NRHP “The First Colored Baptist Church” Nomination Form; 2) Selma’s Architecture and History Tour (A Self-Guided Driving Tour).

12/22/13

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