First Baptist Church of Woodlawn

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The First Baptist Church of Woodlawn is a Baptist church that split away from the older Jackson Street Baptist Church in 1931.

About 70 members of the congregation followed Pastor J. A. Martin, whose authority had been questioned by the Jackson Street deacons. The new church was organized during a meeting at the Pythian Hall on 62nd Street and 3rd Avenue South in South Woodlawn on May 29, 1931. Mary Huff suggested the name. The new church was affiliated with the Mt Pilgrim Baptist Association.

Over the next five years Martin saw membership expand to more than 350, and secured $7,500 in capital funds toward securing a permanent house of worship.

Until 1945 First Baptist occupied a frame building on the same corner as the Pythian Hall. The church completed construction of a new building in 1945 during the tenure of G. E. Mardis, the address was 301 62nd Street South. A fire at that location caused to church to move to the former West Woodlawn Baptist Church 261 48th Street North in May 1987, while Odie Hoover III was serving as pastor.

First Baptist of Woodlawn hosted meetings of Mount Lebanon Baptist Church after that church suffered a fire in 2005. Later the congregations merged and moved to the former Avondale Presbyterian Church at 4716 7th Avenue South. The former church campus on 48th Street was purchased by the I3 Academy as the site for charter school. First Baptist was temporarily hosted by Mount Lebanon while it planned a new building at 5203 1st Avenue North.

For its role in supporting the efforts of Civil Rights activists in the 1960s, First Baptist Church of Woodlawn was identified as a "movement church" by the Birmingham Historical Society as part of its efforts to document structures and get them listed on the National Register of Historic Places.



  • Fallin, Wilson (1997) The African American Church in Birmingham, Alabama, 1815-1963: A Shelter in the Storm. Taylor & Francis ISBN 9780815328834
  • White, Marjorie Longenecker (1998) A Walk to Freedom: The Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, 1956-1964. Birmingham: Birmingham Historical Society. ISBN 0943994241

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