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Brief History of the Historic First African Baptist Church

“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”  It was upon the rock of this faith that we believe our Lord and Master established His Church. Many organizations have been created in the history of man, but none prevailing or as lasting as the Church of Christ. The Word of Jesus established this fact - “Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” God knew that freedom from chattel slavery was not enough, not only must his people be free, they must serve him.  As early as April 1862 a military order was issued freeing enslaved people in the Sea Islands. By March of 1863 the freed enslaved built their own houses, churches, schools and shops in the Town of Mitchelville, named in honor of General Ormsby Mitchel.
The First African Baptist Church was established in the Town of Mitchelville on August 17, 1862 with twenty-five members. Reverend Abraham Murchison, a former enslaved and cook in the employ of the chief Quartermaster, was selected to be the Minister.
When the residents of Mitchelville began to move and settle in other areas in the 1880’s, the Church was relocated to a ten-acre tract in its current location and called Crossroads Baptist Church because of its proximity at the intersection of two roads. Today, The Historic First African Baptist Church is historically recognized as the fountainhead among Baptist Churches in the Hilton Head Island/Bluffton area.  They include: First Zion Baptist Church in Bluffton, SC (1862), St James Baptist Church (1886), Central Oak Grove Baptist Church (1887), Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church (1915) and The New Church of Christ (1938).
Our Church Sesquicentennial Celebration was commemorated throughout the 2012th year with programs and activities including a Celebratory Walk to Mitchelville, Opening Ceremony at Mitchellville’s Fish Hall Park, Banquet, Unveiling of our Historical Marker, Anniversary Program, Installation of Cornerstone, Re-dedication and Placement of the Church Bell. Our theme for the Sesquicentennial year was “The Old Landmark: Celebrating Our Mitchelville Past, Our Present and Our Future.”  
We welcome everyone from far and near to share in our worship experiences. Let us all rejoice in knowing that the Lord continues to bless us and we are thankful to him today and always!

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generation.” Psalms 90:1

This bell was in the bell tower of the church that was located on the site of
The Historic First African Baptist Church from 1889 to 1967. 

Bell sign_edited.jpg

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