Founded in 1836 by thirteen former slaves, the is the oldest black congregation in Michigan. From its beginnings the church has occupied a prominent place in Detroit's black community. In 1839 it established the city's first school for black children, and its first pastor, the Reverend William C. Monroe, was a noted anti-slavery activist. in 1843 he presided over the first State Convention of Colored Citizens, which met at the Second Baptist Church. Delegates demanded the right to vote and an end to slavery. On January 6, 1863, Detroit's blacks celebrated the Emancipation Proclamation here. Located at this site since 1857, the church has expanded its facilities through the years.