First Missionary Baptist Church

Downtown
Established in 1845, First Missionary Baptist Church is one of the oldest black congregations in Arkansas. The first church building was completed by 1847, with the current Gothic Revival building constructed in 1882. In 1891, more than 600 blacks gathered here to protest the state’s recently enacted Separate Coach Law that required racial separation in passenger cars and separate waiting rooms in train stations. They marched from the church to the then state capitol, now the Old State House., to dispute laws that denied black people their constitutional rights. Historians cite that black boycotts in Little Rock, Pine Bluff, and Hot Springs on May 27, 1903, the first day of the streetcar law, caused a 90 percent drop in black patrons on Little Rock streetcars. In May 1958, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., traveled to Little Rock here to attend the graduation ceremony of Ernest Green, the first African American to graduate from Central High School. In 1963, four months before the famous “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. King visited Little Rock to provide the First Missionary Baptist Church’s 118th anniversary sermon.
Contact Information
701 Gaines Street, Little Rock, AR, 72202

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