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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Shiloh Baptist Church (Old site)
Reference Number 15000907
State Virginia
County Fredericksburg
Town Fredericksburg
Street Address 801 Sophia Street
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 12/15/2015
Areas of Significance ETHNIC HERITAGE: African American, ARCHITECTURE
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For its longstanding association with and support of Fredericksburg's historic African American community, the Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site) in Fredericksburg, Virginia, is locally significant under Criterion A in the area of Ethnic Heritage. The current building at Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site) was constructed in 1890 at the intersection of Sophia and Hanover Streets; however, its congregation dates to the early-nineteenth century. One key aspect of the congregation's influence was enhancing and aiding in African American education. Some of the church's pastors and members were influential in the creation of, and worked for, the Fredericksburg Normal and Industrial Institute, the first school in the city to provide secondary education to African Americans. During the 1920s, Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site) held night classes at the church to teach reading and writing. In the 1920s, the church also published a small weekly newspaper for the African American community in Fredericksburg, providing both local news and distinctive perspectives on current events and social justice issues. The Rev. B.H. Hester, who served as pastor from 1921 through 1961, provided strong and outspoken leadership in these areas. During the first half of the twentieth century, the church also hosted a number of nationally significant African American leaders, among them Thomas Calhoun Walker, a Richmond lawyer who promoted education and land ownership among African Americans; the Reverend Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., founder of Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church; W. E. B. DuBois, an outspoken sociologist, historian, and educator; Mary McLeod Bethune, a widely known educator and civil rights activist; and Nannie Burroughs, an educator, feminist, religious leader, and civil rights activist. During the mid-twentieth century, members of Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site) were influential in Fredericksburg's Civil Rights movement. Under the guidance of such key people as the Gladys Todd, R.C. Ellison, Mamie Scott, and Dr. Philip Wyatt, the church pressed for greater social, economic, and political equality. The church also served as the primary meeting, planning, and training place for the city's peaceful Civil Rights demonstrations, including a 1950 commencement protest undertaken by the all-black Walter- Grant High School senior class and the 1960 lunch counter sit-ins at some of Fredericksburg popular downtown businesses. The building also played an important role in the state's Civil Rights movement; it was host to a wide variety of meetings throughout the twentieth century, including gatherings held by the Virginia Voters League and the Virginia Conference of the NCAAP.

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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria