History – Anti-Slavery Meetinghouse

Did you know

that Twelfth Baptist Church (TBC) was founded when a group of 36 parishioners split allegiance to
the First African Baptist Church, also known as the African Meeting House?  

Speculation has it that the split was caused by two factors; first, the First African Baptist Church had been without a permanent minister for a great deal of time which led to disagreements about how to run the church and secondly, there was a difference of opinions about how to protest slavery and race oppression.

In 1840, the 36 dissenters led by Reverend George H. Black, a Baptist minister and native of the West Indies, founded Twelfth Baptist Church. Under Reverend Black’s leadership the congregation actively engaged in efforts to subvert the oppression of blacks. It was  during this time that TBC began its legacy of serving as an anti-slavery meetinghouse and providing spiritual guidance to free blacks and fugitive slaves.

Reverend Black died two years and a host of visiting ministers provided spiritual leadership for the next six years. Then Reverend Leonard A. Grimes was ordained as the first Pastor of Twelfth Baptist Church.