Historic Underground Railroad Site
Second Baptist Church - Columbus' Oldest Black Baptist Church, 1836
Second Baptist Church cordially received its independence as a mission church from the First Baptist Church on January 7, 1836. Rev. Ezekiel Fields was chosen as pastor from 1836-1839. Formal Articles of Inc. were granted on March 12, 1844 by the 42nd General Assembly of the State of Ohio. Early church locations were 69 Mulberry, 105 E. Gay Street, and 90 E. Rich Street. In 1843, the Palladium of Liberty Newspaper began through meetings at the church. The Ohio Black Laws meant loss of livelihood causing many members to actively participate in the covert operations of the Underground Railroad. The Anti-Slavery Baptist Church in 1847 was led by Rev. James P. Poindexter, along with Rev. Isaiah Redman and member John T. Ward until the two churches merged again in 1858.
James P. Poindexter Leads the Anti-Slavery Baptist Church
James Preston Poindexter (1819-1907) became pastor of Second Baptist Church in 1858 after Second Baptist and the Anti-Slavery church merged. He joined the Underground Railroad shortly after coming to Columbus with his wife, Adella, in 1838. He helped to drive the "passengers" along with other prominent conductors of the Underground Railroad. A barber by trade, he was an articulate speaker and prolific writer, speaking out against slavery and discrimination in his many speeches. He became a member of the Columbus City Council, the Columbus Board of Education, the State Forestry Board of Directors, the Columbus Pastor's Union, an Ohio School for the Blind and Wilberforce University trustee, and a contributor to the Ohio State Journal. Poindexter received many honorary degrees and served Second Baptist Church for 40 years.