DC -- Columbia Heights -- National Baptist Memorial Church (1501 Columbia Rd, NW):
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- Wikipedia Description: National Baptist Memorial Church
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
National Baptist Memorial Church is a Baptist church in Washington, D.C. It is located at the intersection of 16th Street NW and Columbia Road, where the Mt. Pleasant, Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan neighborhoods meet. The crossroads is notable for the tripple steeples of National Baptist Memorial Church, All Souls Unitarian Church and the Unification Church's cathedral (formerly the Mormon's Washington Chapel).
It is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA, the Progressive National Baptist Convention, and to a certain extent the Southern Baptist Convention. Rev. Kasey D. Jones became the senior pastor in 2006. She is the first woman and the first African-American to serve in that role.
Grove Griffith Johnson, Jr., the eight-year-old son of Rev. Grove Griffith Johnson, received the first scoop of earth from President Warren G. Harding at the groundbreaking of National Baptist Memorial Church, 23 April 1921, Library of Congress, Harris & Ewing Collection
National Baptist Memorial Church
A movement for the creation of a national Baptist memorial in Washington, D.C. began in 1917. The original concept was as a memorial to Roger Williams and religious freedom. The design was to included a prominently placed statue of Williams (see illustration). In 1919 both the Northern and Southern Baptist Conventions agreed to add $175,000 each for the memorial in their five-year plans. The Washington area was to contribute another $100,000, with Immanuel Baptist Church pledging to raise $50,000 of the Washington contribution from within the church.
The Southern Baptist Convention 1920 Annual Meeting was held 12–17 May in Washington, D.C. and the sight was dedicated Saturday, 15 May of the Convention. Two thousand people attended the dedication. Speakers included Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, Rev. James Bruton Gambrell, President of the Southern Baptist Convention and William Joseph McGlothlin, President of Furman University.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held 23 April 1921. Rev. Johnson opened the ceremony and introduced Rev. E. B. Jackson, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Alexandria, Virginia, who was the chairman of the national building committee of Northern and Southern Baptists. They sang three stanzas of "America". A prayer was offered by Rev. J. J. Muir, chaplain of the House of Representatives. Then President Harding broke ground. Grove Griffith Johnson, Jr., the eight-year-old son of Rev. Grove Griffith Johnson pulled the wagon that received the scoop of the first ground (see image to the right). The ceremony was attended by four lineal descendants of Roger Williams.
The Society of Architectural Historians Archipedia speculates that Swartwout's design may have been inspired by All Souls Church, Langham Place, London (1824).
The education building on 15th Street was built in 1941. The entire complex was renovated in 1950.
It was added to the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites on 8 November 1964 and is part of the Meridian Hill Historic District which was created in April–May 2014.
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