- The Washington Times - Friday, May 22, 2009

The Second Baptist Church is the second-oldest black church in the city.

The church was established by former members of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in 1848, 14 years before slaves in the District were freed. Second Baptist was one of the few D.C. churches that had a black pastor before Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration. At first, its members met for worship in a broom factory in Southwest, and later above Ryan’s Grocery Store in Northwest.

The church purchased a lot in 1856 for its first permanent site. The building was a stop on the Underground Railroad, according to oral tradition, and the church ran a school after the Civil War. Later, its Sunday School lyceum drew such notables as statesman Frederick Douglass and the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Sr.

Second Baptist’s Gothic Revival building, which was designed by architect Appleton P. Clarke Jr., was placed on the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites in 2002.

“Second Baptist will continue to stand for education and progressive initiatives,” its Web site says.

Sources: Second Baptist Church and the African American Heritage Trail Web sites

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