Reformed Presbyterian Church at Selma, AL (built ca. 1878, listed on the NRHP)

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In 1874, Rev. Lewis Johnston, the first African-American to be ordained a Reformed Presbyterian minister, arrived in Selma to preach the Gospel. On June 11, 1874, he formed a school to teach former slaves. The school was initially called Geneva Academy, but was later renamed Knox, after the Scots reformer, John Knox.

On May 21, 1875, a congregation was organized, and within three years the present church building was erected. It was built as a raised cottage to facilitate the movement of air for ventilation and the windows had closeable shutters. The building originally had a steeple with a bell that was rung for funerals.

This church building is a contributing property to Selma’s “Old Town Historic District” that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). It is located at 627 Jeff Davis Avenue in Selma (GPS coordinates 32.414995, -87.029405).

Sources: 1) “Historic Churches of Selma, prior to 1925” Brochure; 2) Selma’s Architecture and History Tour (A Self-Guided Driving Tour); 3) NRHP “Old Town Historic District” Registration Form.


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