Thirgood Memorial CME Church

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Thirgood Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (formerly Thirgood Memorial Colored Methodist Episcopal Church) is a congregation affiliated with the Birmingham District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, located at 517 Center Street North in Birmingham's Smithfield neighborhood. It is named in honor of Reverend R. T. Thirgood.

Thirgood Memorial is Birmingham's second-largest CME church (after Southside CME Church), reporting about 658 members in 2011. Lamont Johnson is the pastor.

Thirgood Memorial was founded in 1879 and was formerly located at 1027 7th Avenue North. During the Civil Rights Movement it hosted mass meetings on April 5 and on Easter Sunday, April 14 in the midst of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights' Birmingham campaign. The Easter meeting transformed itself into a march toward the Birmingham Jail where Martin Luther King Jr and Ralph Abernathy were serving sentences for parading without permits. The crowd of 1,500 to 2,000 marchers met unorganized protesters near the jail and the unruly crowd was dispersed by police, with 26 people arrested at the scene. Among those arrested were march leaders Frank Dukes, A. D. King, Nelson Smith and John Porter. Thirgood Memorial also accommodated frequent overflow crowds from mass meetings at nearby St James Baptist Church.

The church relocated to its present building during Nathaniel Linsey's tenure as pastor in the mid-1960s.


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