Church

Site Type curated by: The African American Historic Sites Database Team

Churches in Virginia

Locations for Site Type

Historical Significance Alexander Hill Baptist Church was founded in 1865, and today is considered the oldest African- American Church in Buckingham County. At the end of the Civil War, a prominent local lawyer named Alexander Moseley gave each of…

Historical Significance Enslaved and free blacks found ways to establish their own churches and schools despite laws restricting their ability to meet in groups. Founded in 1818 in the Bottoms, Alexandria's oldest African-American neighborhood,…

Historical Significance Once known as the Old Sassafras Stage Church, Bethel Baptist Church is the oldest independent African American congregation in Sassafras and one of the oldest in Gloucester County. Bethel dates from the 19th century, when…

Historical Significance The first black church organized in Alexandria after its occupation by Union troops in 1861, Beulah Baptist was established in 1863 at the edge of the Bottoms, a longtime African-American neighborhood. The church grew out of…

Historical Significance The building that now serves as the parish hall for the Grace Episcopal Church was originally the slave chapel for Bremo, the adjacent plantation of General John Hartwell Cocke. It is the state's only known slave chapel and…

Historical Significance African Americans have been a substantial portion of the denomination membership of American Methodism since its founding. In 1823, the Holston Conference total membership included 7,512 whites and 1,078 blacks. In the early…

Historical Significance Court Street Baptist Church is regarded by many as "the mother church" of Lynchburg's black Baptists. The congregation was organized in 1843 when it split from its parent church, the white First Baptist Church. The newly…

Historical Significance For more than a century and a half, the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Jackson Ward has been a Richmond landmark. A daughter congregation of First African Baptist, Ebenezer was formed in 1857 and initially named Third African…

Historical Significance Emanuel A.M.E. Church is the oldest church of any black denomination in the city of Portsmouth, and the second oldest church building in Portsmouth. The congregation dates to 1772, three years before the American Revolution.…

Historical Significance The Disciples of Christ is one of a number of sects that flourished in the last decades of the nineteenth century. The denomination focused on the Bible as their doctrinal guide and gave individual churches considerable…

Historical Significance The First African Baptist Church is Richmond's oldest black Baptist congregation. Many enslaved men and women in the Richmond area worked for tobacco manufacturers six days a week and worshiped with Free Blacks on the…

Historical Significance Prior to 1863, African-American Baptists in Charlottesville worshiped under segregated conditions, attending services in the balcony of the white First Baptist Church on Park Street. Following emancipation, approximately…

Historical Significance A number of African Americans worshiped in three of Lexington's white churches: Manley Memorial Church, the Episcopal Church, and the Presbyterian Church. On September 22, 1867, these members were permitted to withdraw and…

Historical Significance Considered the mother church of Norfolk's Black Baptists, First Baptist's congregation was organized in 1800 and originally consisted of whites, Free Blacks, and enslaved individuals. The church land was acquired in 1830, but…

Historical Significance The First Baptist Church congregation was organized in 1774 and is the oldest Black Baptist Church in America. The church has a long history of providing social services to the community. It housed the first school for blacks…

Historical Significance Roanoke's First Baptist Church was built in 1898-1890 to house what was at the time the largest and most prominent black congregation in Virginia west of Richmond. The congregation was founded in 1855 when Charles L. Cocke,…

Historical Significance Established in 1867, First Baptist Church has a long, rich history in Salem's South Bend community, an African-American community settled by emancipated blacks after the Civil War. Prayer services were initially held in the…

Historical Significance First Baptist Church, South Richmond, is the oldest independent Black church in the current bounds of the city of Richmond. Since its founding, the church has been known by at least three different names. Organized in 1821 as…

Historical Significance Located in Norfolk's Huntersville neighborhood, First Calvary Baptist Church is one of the state's few black churches built with a distinctly eighteenth-century English architectural character. The church congregation grew as…

Historical Significance Fourth Baptist Church was the first black church in the Church Hill community of Richmond, formed before the Civil War when a group of enslaved individuals assembled to pray. Once the Civil War began, the members of Leigh…

Historical Significance Frying Pan Meetinghouse is one of the oldest racially-integrated Baptist churches in Virginia. In 1775, a Baptist congregation was organized at Bull Run under the leadership of Elder Richard Major as its pastor. The…

Historical Significance The Gillfield Baptist Church is the second oldest African-American church in Petersburg and one of the oldest in the country. Its record book is one of the oldest, preserved handwritten record books in an American black…

Historical Significance After the Civil War, many blacks settled in Newtown, a small tract of land in Hampton once owned by New York missionary Daniel F. Cook. Cook came to Hampton as an instructor at Hampton Institute. The Little England Chapel was…

Historical Significance First organized as Wesley Zion Church and later called Little Zion Church, Lomax AME Zion Church was originally established in Freedman's Village in 1866. The church was relocated to Nauck, Arlington County in 1874. A church…

Historical Significance Long’s Chapel is the still-standing church of the Zenda community, an historically African-American settlement in Rockingham County which thrived until the turn of the 20th century. In 1869, Hannah and William…

Historical Significance Founded in 1908 in the home of Bonder and Amanda Johnson and formally established in 1911, Macedonia Baptist Church is one of the oldest extant black churches in Nauck. In the 1920s, church membership grew when many African…

Historical Significance Mount Hope Baptist Church was organized in 1878 by former slaves and the Reverend Peter Berry under the name of Bethel Baptist Church, and provided a meeting place and place of religious worship for African Americans. Early…

Historical Significance In 1866 the Mount Zion Baptist Church was first organized under the name “The Old Bell Church” and located in Freedman’s Village in the District of Columbia. When the federal government disbanded…

Historical Significance Following the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, 800 African-American churchgoers who worshiped in the balcony of the white First Baptist Church of Charlottesville on Park Avenue petitioned to form their own congregation.…

Historical Significance Oakland Baptist Church, still an active congregation, was founded in 1891 by African-Americans living in the Fort, a village formed on the site of the dismantled Civil War-era Fort Ward. The church was an outgrowth of the Oak…

Historical Significance Initially, African Americans worshiped with white Methodists at Stephens City Methodist Church. By 1858, they had a separate house of worship on Mulberry Street, but remained under the supervision of the local white…

Historical Significance Our Lady Queen of Peace is a Catholic parish that was organized by a small group of African Americans in 1945, around the end of World War II. In the early 1940s, Black Catholics petitioned the Richmond Diocese for permission…

Historical Significance Davis Chapel, now Roberts Memorial United Church, provided a safe haven for free and enslaved blacks during a period of growing racial tension in the predominantly white Methodist Episcopal church. The spiritual home of many…

Historical Significance Built in 1885, the Schaffer Memorial Baptist Church shared its grounds with the Old Christiansburg Industrial Institute (now known as Christiansburg Institute). The church began informally two decades earlier in 1866 when…

Historical Significance The Reverend John Jasper founded Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church in 1867. Typical of the desperate conditions for many African-Americans in Richmond immediately after the Civil War, Sixth Mount Zion was originally organized…

Historical Significance The St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1867 and was one of the first 50 AME congregations chartered in this country. The building was constructed in stages, with services held in the basement until…

Historical Significance Originally located on Perry Street, St. Stephens Episcopal Church was organized in 1868 with a black vestry and a black rector, Reverend J. S. Atwell. It was an outgrowth of Major Giles B. Cooke's Sunday School for Blacks in…

Historical Significance After Nat Turner's rebellion in 1831, Virginia passed laws to prevent the religious gatherings of enslaved and free blacks without the supervision of white persons. In 1841, under the control of their white patrons, a group…

Historical Significance The Third Street Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church is one of Virginia's few surviving churches erected before the Civil War. The Virginia Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was formed at the Third…

Historical Significance Using dendrochronology, the wood used in the construction of the Thomas Slave Chapel was dated to the postbellum era, around 1876. The chapel was built to provide a place of worship for formerly enslaved African Americans. It…

Historical Significance Established in 1886, Zion Poplars Baptist Church is one of the oldest independent African American congregations in Gloucester County. Oral tradition holds that the founders first met for religious services under seven poplar…