[graphic header] Detroit: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary, National Park Service

Second Baptist Church

The Second Baptist Church, constructed in 1914 to replace the original church building, houses Michigan's first African American congregation. The church was established in 1836, when 13 former slaves decided to leave the First Baptist Church because of its discriminatory practices. The church quickly became involved in the period's most bitter dispute--slavery. Just miles away from the freedom that the Canadian border offered to escaped slaves, it soon became a stop on the Underground Railroad. Its leaders helped form the Amherstburg Baptist Association and the Canadian Anti-Slavery Baptist Association, both of which supported abolitionism. These organizations aided, both spiritually and materially, the ever-increasing number of fugitive slaves fleeing north. The church's activism was not limited to slavery, however. In 1843 and in 1865, it hosted a "State Convention of Colored Citizens" to petition the Michigan government for Negro Suffrage, and after the Civil War, the church played a vital role in helping thousands of migrating freed slaves in securing homes and jobs in and around Detroit. The present Second Baptist Church building, featuring subdued Gothic elements, replaced the original structure after fire in 1914. Two additions, one in 1926, and another in 1968, flank either side of the building and testify to the congregation's continued vitality. The Second Baptist Church today remains, as it has been throughout its history, a source of inspiration and encouragement to its members and neighbors.

The Second Baptist Church is located just east of the intersection of Gratiot Avenue (US 25) and Woodward Avenue within the Greektown Historic District. The Second Baptist Church is at 441 Monroe Street, and is open to the public.

Second Baptist Church Second Baptist Church of Detroit
Photograph by Daniel Hershberger

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