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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Alexandria, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Oakland Baptist Church

 
 
The Oakland Baptist Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2014
1. The Oakland Baptist Church Marker
Inscription. Several residents of "The Fort" community were founders of the Oakland Baptist Church, which is located at the intersection of King Street and Braddock Road. The congregation started worshiping in a bush arbor as Oak Hill Baptist Mission in 1888 and moved to 3408 King Street in 1893. Despite the hardships associated with the community's relocation and the development of Fort Ward into a historical park, the Oakland Baptist Church and Cemetery survive and stand as symbols of the self-sufficiency, integrity, and longevity of this distinctive African American community.

Oakland Baptist Church Founders
Clara Shorts Adams
William Carpenter
John Wesley Casey
Maggie Hall
Brooks Johnson
Mollie Nelson
Nancy Shepherd
Harriet McKnight Shorts
Daniel Simms Sr.
James William Terrell
Smith Wanzer
Matilda Woods

The words of "Miss Lizabeth" make evident the church members' fervent sense of community, determination, and self-sufficiency:

“They weren't what you call builders, but they helped to build the church. Rev. Barnes, he had been sick. And in 1939 he was getting back on his feet pretty good. And Rev. Moore, he was helping him to finish the church up there as well. And then the fellas from the Episcopal High School and Seminary, when they
The Oakland Baptist Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2014
2. The Oakland Baptist Church Marker
had a breakfast break or a lunch break, they would come down here and help.”


The Deacon Board set a strict moral and social code that guided the Oakland Baptist Church members' lives beyond the church walls. Deacon John Wesley Casey, a founder of the church and chairman of the Deacon Board, testified at the Fairfax County Circuit Court divorce case Bailey v. Bailey in 1909:

“… and we called her before the church board, as we have a board there to call up such things before them, and she said she was not going to stop … and he said he was not going to stop, and under these circumstances we expelled them from the church.”
 
Erected by City of Alexandria.
 
Location. 38° 49.793′ N, 77° 6.058′ W. Marker is in Alexandria, Virginia. Marker can be reached from West Braddock Road east of North Howard Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Located in Fort Ward Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4301 W Braddock Rd, Alexandria VA 22304, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Oakland Baptist Church Cemetery (a few steps from this marker); Within Its Walls (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Ward
After The Fire image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2014
3. After The Fire
After a fire destroyed the original structure in 1931, Rev. Howard Barnes oversaw the construction of a new, one story church. In this 1939 photograph, Rev. Barnes (left) and chairman of the Trustee Board, Rev. Samuel T. Moore (right), start building the church's second-floor sanctuary. Congregation members completed the project the next year. Rev. Barnes served as pastor of Oakland Baptist Church for 22 years.
Close-up of photo on marker
(about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bombproof (about 300 feet away); Entrance Gate to Fort Ward (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Fort Ward (about 500 feet away); Powder Magazine and Filling Room (about 500 feet away); Northwest Bastion (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Alexandria.
 
Also see . . .
1. Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site. (Submitted on March 3, 2015.)
2. Alexandria Hertage Trail. (Submitted on March 3, 2015.)
3. Wikipedia - Fort Ward (Virginia). (Submitted on March 3, 2015.)
 
Categories. African AmericansChurches, Etc.Forts, Castles
 
The Deacon Board image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2014
4. The Deacon Board
Members (left to right) of the Oakland Baptist Church Deacon Board: (back row) Rev. Luther H. Mills, Morris Johnson, Joseph Wanzer, Clarence Summers, Louis Douglas, Wilson Robinson, and Amos Turner; (front row) Douglas Johnson and Richard Nelson. In the mid-1940s, these appointed officers assisted Pastor Mills, the longest-serving pastor in Oakland Baptist Church history, in the temporal, physical, and spiritual needs of the church.
Close-up of photo on marker
James Lewis Jr. and Delany Colbert image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2014
5. James Lewis Jr. and Delany Colbert
Deacons James Lewis Jr. (left), and Delaney Colbert (right), a Sunday School teacher, were long-serving members of the Oakland Baptist Church's Deacon Board. Deacon Lewis was the longest-serving member of the board in church history. During his 55 years on the Board, Deacon Lewis served as chairman for 38 years.
Close-up of photo on marker
Sunday School Class image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2014
6. Sunday School Class
Superintendent Deacon Amos Turner (back row, center) and teachers, Deacon Morris Johnson (back row, second from right) and Elizabeth Henry Douglas (far right), stand with a mid•1960s Oakland Baptist Church Sunday School class. The church served as a house of worship and a social gathering place. Special programs such as "Homecoming" and "Family and Friends Day" involved sister churches. There were gospel concerts and "Tom Thumb Weddings," at which children assumed the roles of bride and groom. The Sunday School sponsored annual excursions to Sparrows Beach and Coney Island, followed by camp week at the Northern Virginia Baptist Center in Gainesville, Virginia.
Close-up of photo on marker
John Wesley Casey image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2014
7. John Wesley Casey
Close-up of photo on marker
You are Here image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2014
8. You are Here
Close-up of map on marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 2, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 518 times since then and 40 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on March 2, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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