Status: Endangered

Address: 379 Beale Street, Memphis

Built: 1869; cornerstone 1871; completed 1885

Architectural Style: Gothic Influence

Original Function/Purpose: Church

The First Baptist Church (Beale Street) was placed on the National Register on Feb. 11, 1971.

History: Beale Street Baptist Church was built in 1869 and is notable for being the first Memphis church built for Blacks. It is often regarded as “the Mother of Black churches” and in 1892 was home to the first Black newspaper, The Memphis Free Speech, edited by Ida B. Wells. The church is also well known for being visited by two Presidents, Ulysses S. Grant and Theodore Roosevelt. The church originated in the home of, and was pastored by, a white minister until 1864, as a city ordinance prohibited Blacks from preaching to a congregation. In 2018 the City of Memphis designated this property as a site on the Memphis Heritage Trail. In 2022, Shelby County granted $150,000 toward the renovation of this historic landmark. The grant will help with masonry repairs, general restoration and a roof replacement. 

City Council District: 6

Super District: 8

County Commission District: 8