[Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church, Marshall]

Description

Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church, located at 801 W. Grand Ave. in Marshall, is one of the oldest African-American congregations in the county. It was established in 1867 during the Reconstruction period when so many newly-emancipated blacks left white churches to establish their own. Originally the name was simply the "Colored Baptist Church," which was the name on the deed. When the members elected to change the name, they identified it with the healing pool of Bethesda in Biblical Jerusalem. The word "Missionary" was added to its name in the mid-1980's to reflect denominational affiliation. In 1987 Bethesda began to join ...

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This photograph is part of the collection entitled: Texas History Collection and was provided by Marshall Public Library to The Portal to Texas History, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 50 times . More information about this photograph can be viewed below.

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Marshall Public Library

The Marshall Public Library partners with us to provide access to local history photographs documenting their library and notable African-American citizens instrumental in Marshall's development. Many of the individuals pictured in the images were featured in the oral history project "The Black Citizen and American Democracy: Black Culture in Harrison County, Past, Present, and Future."

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Description

Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church, located at 801 W. Grand Ave. in Marshall, is one of the oldest African-American congregations in the county. It was established in 1867 during the Reconstruction period when so many newly-emancipated blacks left white churches to establish their own. Originally the name was simply the "Colored Baptist Church," which was the name on the deed. When the members elected to change the name, they identified it with the healing pool of Bethesda in Biblical Jerusalem. The word "Missionary" was added to its name in the mid-1980's to reflect denominational affiliation. In 1987 Bethesda began to join with the First Baptist Church in occasional worship services and fellowship. The two churches are historically linked because Rev. A. E. Clemmons, a pastor of the white First Baptist Church, and Rev. William Massey, a black religious leader, jointly led 450 souls in the founding of Bethesda. Massey went on to pastor other churches in Waco and Austin but later returned. Other prominent founders were David Abner, who was Harrison County treasurer, a member of the Texas House of Representatives in the Fourteenth Legislature, and a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1875; and Andrew Gross, whose son Frederick became a president of Houston College. Throughout its history, the congregation has included pastors and members of prominence not only in Marshall but far beyond. The congregation also had a historic role in the founding of Bishop College, the African-American Baptist institution that was located in Marshall 1881-1961. Bethesda's first dedicated church building was a one-story wooden structure located on the present site. It has an entry in the Texas History Portal. It was razed during 1897-1901 to be replaced by a larger brick edifice of Gothic style. That building burned in 1953 and was replaced by the nearly identical structure shown in this picture. The view shows the south and east facades. Two young men lounge on the lawn, foreground. In 2008 Bethesda was listed on the "Buard History Trail," which was created to recognize Marshall's historic African-American sites.

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Texas History Collection

Drawn from collections at the UNT Libraries and various partners, these materials about Texas history include artifacts, books, documents, manuscripts, photographs, maps, letters, and more.

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  • Sept. 14, 2006, 8:17 p.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Dec. 16, 2008, 6:03 p.m.

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Citations, Rights, Re-Use

[Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church, Marshall], photograph, Date Unknown; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth18121/: accessed August 25, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Marshall Public Library.