Spotsylvania's First African American Church

Spotsylvania's First African American Church (HM1L91)

Location: Spotsylvania, VA 22551 Spotsylvania County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 9.412', W 77° 44.281'

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Little Mine Road Baptist Church

History did not record his name . . . the black member of nearby Mine Road Baptist Church who worked as a coachman for one of the white congregants. He asked whether his fellow black church members who sat obediently in the balcony on Sundays could be allowed to start a church of their own. Once his request was passed along to the pastor, Rev. E. G, Baptist, and discussed with church leadership, permission was indeed granted. The year was 1859 - three years before the start of the Civil War and four years before that war was fought on Spotsylvania soil.

The African American members walked a brief way down Mine Road to a patch of land where they established a church they came to call Little Mine Road Baptist Church. ln so doing, they became the first organized African American congregation in Spotsylvania County. Eighteen years later - after worshipping in makeshift quarters - the members had saved enough money to purchase land upon which to construct a church building. On September 1, 1877, the congregation's trustees paid $2.00 to Reuben and Lucy Johnson for one-half acre on which to worship and call home.

By 1900 the church was thriving through the support of its members who were engaged in a variety of occupations. They were farmers, cooks, copper miners, nurses, railroad track workers, carpenters, blacksmiths, and sawmill employees.

On April 23, 1901, the congregation received more land via a gift from the estate of Jane R. Lee, a white neighbor and supporter of their efforts. By 1902, they had constructed and dedicated a new house of worship. This church was the site of another important event in the history of African Americans in this county. It was here in 1909 that a meeting of the Spotsylvania Sunday School Union took place in which it was voted upon and decided to build a high school for black children to attend. That school became the Spotsylvania Training School, later renamed in 1940 as the John J. Wright School.

In 1974, after more than 70 years of worship in that building, a new one, adjacent to the old, was constructed and dedicated. The new church was built by Spotsylvania resident and World War II U. S. Navy veteran, Bennie Carter. As a monument to the dedication, struggles and triumphs of its members, the steps from the 1902 building are memorialized (photograph beIow courtesy T. Miller). They are in memory of those who walked from second class members of Mine Road Baptist Church to first class members of their own church.


In 1965 with $100, the members began a building fund to construct a new church. In November 1974, with Rev. Herman Ellis as pastor, congregants held an emotional ceremony in which they walked from their 1902 building into their new church, where they are still worshipping and serving the community.

Above: These are the steps from their first complete church building, erected and dedicated on Dec. 11, 1902. The wording carved on the second line is "Little Road".

The African American Heritage Trail is supported in part by a Preserve America grant administered by the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. This product is based upon work assisted by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
HM NumberHM1L91
Year Placed2015
Placed BySpotsylvania African American Heritage Trail
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, June 22nd, 2015 at 2:03pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 260100 N 4226762
Decimal Degrees38.15686667, -77.73801667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 9.412', W 77° 44.281'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 9' 24.72" N, 77° 44' 16.86" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 7221-7225 Lanes Corner Rd, Spotsylvania VA 22551, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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