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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Houston in Harris County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

St. John Missionary Baptist Church

 
 
St. John Missionary Baptist Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, April 16, 2021
1. St. John Missionary Baptist Church Marker
Inscription.  

In August 1899, the Rev. Hilliard R. Johnson led a small group of African Americans to establish St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Houston's Third Ward. During his years as pastor, 1899-1901 and 1904-1924, he pioneered the practice of two morning church services, spring revivals, and baptisms held in Brays Bayou. In 1920 the growing congregation built a brick building on Dowling Street near McGowan Avenue.

The Rev. Sanderson A. Pleasants, Jr. served the church from 1925 until 1953 and began many organizations and outreach programs, including a home mission department, a silent department deaf ministry, a prison ministry, a church band and orchestra, and a radio group. With over 5,000 members in 1948, the congregation needed a larger sanctuary. The new building, completed in 1950, features a classical Revival architectural design with colossal columns, symbolic of the spiritual strength and influence of the church in the community. By 1953 the church was said to be one of the largest African American churches in the country.

The Rev. Marshall M. Malone led the church from 1953 until 1983. A weekly radio bible
St. John Missionary Baptist Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, April 16, 2021
2. St. John Missionary Baptist Church Marker
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class was broadcast from the church in the 1950s. The M.M. Malone chapel and educational building were built in 1963 adjacent to the 1950 sanctuary. The church played an important role during the turbulent political and social climate of the Civil Rights era. In 1958 the church hosted the 25th commencement ceremony of the Erma Hughes Business College with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as the principal speaker. In 1965 the church hosted the 85th National Baptist Convention of America, which was the first religious event to be held at Houston's new Astrodome.
 
Erected 2009 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 15797.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansChurches & Religion. A significant historical month for this entry is August 1899.
 
Location. 29° 44.251′ N, 95° 21.765′ W. Marker is in Houston, Texas, in Harris County. Marker is at the intersection of Emancipation Avenue and Dennis Street, on the left when traveling north on Emancipation Avenue. The marker is located at the right side of the front entrance to the Church. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2702 Emancipation Avenue, Houston TX 77004, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Trinity East United Methodist Church (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Grand Court Order of Calanthe of Texas (about
The view of the St. John Missionary Baptist Church and Marker from the street image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, April 16, 2021
3. The view of the St. John Missionary Baptist Church and Marker from the street
600 feet away); Reverend David Elias Dibble (about 600 feet away); Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church (about 800 feet away); Richard Allen (about 800 feet away); The Legacy of Emancipation Park (approx. 0.2 miles away); Jordan Grove Missionary Baptist Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dr. Benjamin Jesse Covington and the Covington House (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Houston.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 18, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 18, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 30 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 18, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.

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May. 15, 2021