Thursday, January 23, 1879. A notice went out from C. S. Sands, Will Mackey, Frank Preston, and Alexander Childs calling attention to Columbus’ Black population that Sunday Sabbath services would be held at the old Lutheran Church on Jefferson Street (Seventh Street today). Aside from the announcement, a plea was made to sympathetic citizens to assist the Black population in finding a place to worship. “There are 38 colored persons in the city, 28 of whom are grown.” (TER, 23 Jan 1879, p.4).
I *believe* the old Lutheran Church was the site of the first Black church in Columbus.
The 1886 Sanborn map shows a Black Church situated on Washington Street, in the front part of Joe Wooley’s Livery (roughly where Baker’s Gifts is situated today).
Many malicious acts by Whites against the Black church are recorded in the paper. This is but one.
Letter To The Editor of The Evening Republican, 8 April 1880:
A small congregation of colored people having a desire among other things of attending to the welfare of their souls, have organized a church in which they meet and endeavor in their humble and feeble manner to offer up their devotion to the Almighty. In this they are sincere, no matter how they may lack in the intelligence, culture and refinement of their more favored white brethren. Reverence for the Deity and a zealous and enthusiastic appreciation of religion is characteristic of the race. In this there can certainly be nothing to condemn, but much to admire.
Now it was the writer’s good fortune upon last Sabbath evening to attend divine services at this church, and he found the house crowded, what the colored people lacked in numbers being supplied by white people. After the preliminary exercises the pulpit was occupied by the Rev. Parker, a blind man, whose discourse, if not an eloquent one, was certainly a very impressive one. And neither in his discourse nor in any part of the evenings devotions was there any occasion for fun or derision, yet that intelligent, highly cultured and refined portion of the congregation, females as well as males, (it is usual to designate the sexes by the title of ladies and gentleman, but their conduct was of such a nature that it would require a bigger stretch of conscience than the writer is capable of to so designate them). They, the white portion of the congregation, conducted themselves in such a manner as betokened a familiarity with free and easy shows, and an entire disregard of and absence of all religious instruction or training, though some of them may no doubt have been taught differently at home, yet does their conduct reflect upon their raising or home education. It was been the writer’s good fortune to attend many white churches at which were present a goodly number of colored people and he has yet to see one conduct himself or herself in an unbecoming manner. We certainly need a few more lessons in refinement from our superiors, the Anglo Saxons, that highly cultured, intelligent, refined, God-loving and God-serving people, for it their conduct of last Sunday evening is the test of refinement, then we surely are far, very far behind our white friends, but we can improve. The time may come when we may become educated up to that standard, until such a time comes our white friends will excuse us if we look upon the lesson or example they set up Sabbath evening with a sort of belief that they are not consistent with the rules of propriety or good breeding.
Editor’s reply: There has frequently been complaints of whites who visit the colored church simply to make fun and disturb the services. The writer fitly describes and characterizes this conduct. It is a disgrace to the race and a disgrace to the city and it is just about time that the authorities take some steps to put a period to it. Such conduct would not be tolerated in any of the other churches and should not be here, and if the white hoodlums who visit the church have no respect for God, religion or themselves, they should be taught to respect the law.