“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Downtown Hampton in Hampton, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

First Baptist Church

First Independent Black Congregation in Hampton


— Explore Hampton 2010: From the Sea to the Stars —

First Baptist Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, February 6, 2021
1. First Baptist Church Marker
Before the Civil War, Southern churches were internally segregated, and African Americans worshiped from balconies. Blacks were not permitted to have their own places of worship in many areas. This changed dramatically during and after the war, and one example is First Baptist Church, the first independent black congregation in Hampton.

Organized in 1863, the congregation of First Baptist moved out of the balcony of Hampton Baptist Church to a section of town known as PeeDee, located near Washington and Bailey Streets. A free Black named Jim Bailey gave permission to build a church on his land. Under the leadership of its first pastor, Rev. William Taylor, the church moved to North King Street, near the Grand Contraband Camp where hundreds of formerly enslaved men and women were settled.

Several respected ministers led the church after Taylor, keeping it in a leadership position in the black community. Rev. Richard Spiller, the third pastor, was among the founders of the historic Peoples' Building and Loan Association and served as its first president. This bank would provide fiduciary outreach and financial stability to numerous

First Baptist Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, February 6, 2021
2. First Baptist Church Marker
The marker is near the entrance to the church.
African American businesses that would develop and thrive in the City of Hampton and would advance home-ownership opportunity throughout the long period of segregation. Rev. Seymour Gaines, the sixth pastor, made community outreach an integral part of the church, and organized the Big Brothers of America in Hampton.

The church continues to provide pastoral, social, and political leadership within the community, and is a mainstay of traditional African American worship and community organization.
Erected 2010 by Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCharity & Public WorkChurches & ReligionWar, US Civil.
Location. 37° 1.743′ N, 76° 20.693′ W. Marker is in Downtown Hampton in Hampton, Virginia. Marker is on North King Street just south of Syms Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 221 N King St, Hampton VA 23669, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Historic Hampton (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Virginia State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs (about 800 feet away); The Courthouse (approx. 0.2 miles away); Hampton Baptist Church (approx. 0.2 miles away);

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Hampton Courthouse (approx. 0.2 miles away); Historic St. John's Episcopal Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); Mary Smith Kelsey Peake (approx. 0.2 miles away); King and Queen Streets (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Downtown Hampton.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 7, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 36 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 7, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A clear photo of the church building • Can you help?
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Mar. 3, 2021