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Shelby County leaders will gather to announce the support to repair the historic Beale Street Baptist Church.

Shelby County leaders will gather Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, to announce the support to repair the historic Beale Street Baptist Church.
Credit: Library of Congress
Memphis' First Baptist Church on Beale Street - Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, HABS TENN,79-MEMPH,7-

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Beale Street Baptist Church is getting an historical upgrade. Shelby County Lee Harris along with county leaders and officials will celebrate alongside the church as they secure $150,000 for the restorations of the landmark building. They are hosting a historic preservation announcement and tour of Beale Street Baptist Church Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. 

“Beale Street Baptist Church has been a place of peace, community, and service for generations of Shelby County residents,” said Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris in a news release. “This restoration project will ensure this historic landmark can continue to be just that for generations to come.”

First construction of the church can be traced back to 1869. Beale Street Baptist church was originally built in Memphis for African American parishioners, and is considered one of the first Black churches built in the South. Its origins can be traced back to 1840.

“Shelby County has a rich history, and Beale Street Baptist Church has been a part of that history for over 180 years. The walls of the church tell the stories of all those who came before us, and this restoration project will help tell the stories of those who will come after,” said Shelby County Commission Chairman Mickell Lowery. 

The Shelby County Register of Deeds, Willie Brooks, approved the project back in June 2022 to help fund improvements and ADA requirements. It is expected to fund repairs to the roof, facade, and provide architectural restoration to the gothic-inspired building. 

The landmark that has been called the “The Mother of Black Churches,” has also been visited by two presidents, Theodore Roosevelt and Ulysses S. Grant. Civil Rights pioneer and journalist Ida B. Wells’ office and the newspaper she edited, “The Memphis Free Speech,” was also located at the church. 

Friday’s event will include a tour of the church and remarks about the historic restoration project and will start at 9:55 am. 

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