Baptists and the American Civil War: November 5, 1865

calvary_baptist_charlestonThis month in South Carolina the Gethsemane Baptist Association, a colored association of Baptists, is formed with fourteen charter congregations. Later the organization becomes known as the Charleston County Baptist Association.

Among the charter congregations are the Morris Street Baptist Church and the Baptist Church in Charleston (later Calvary Baptist Church), respectively the oldest and second-oldest African American Baptist churches in Charleston. The Baptist Church in Charleston was formed one month earlier, on October 10, 1865.

During the war, Charleston’s black Baptists were forced to worship in white congregations, where they sat in segregated seating in balconies.

Black Baptists of Charleston and surrounding areas are numerous, outnumbering white Baptists. A number of African American Baptist congregations are founded outside of the Charleston city limits in the months and years following the war. More colored Baptist associations in South Carolina are formed in the decades following, while many black churches, including the Calvary Baptist Church, construct church buildings.

The Calvary Baptist Church remains active to the present day.

Sources: Bernard E. Powers, Jr., Black Charlestonians: A Social History, 1822-1885, Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1994, p. 192 (link);  David MacDougall, “Calvary Baptist Church Celebrating 150 Years, Charleston Post and Courier, October 3, 2015, including image (link)