The Avenue L Baptist Church, one of the oldest black churches in Texas, grew from the slave membership of the First Baptist Church of Galveston. The slaves were organized under the name Colored Baptist Church in 1840 by the Rev. James Huckins. By the early 1850s they had left First Baptist to worship in a separate building, known as the Africa Baptist Church. In 1855 First Baptist trustees Gail Borden, Jr., John S. Sydnor, and Huckins purchased land from the Galveston City Company for use by the congregation. After the Civil War the property was formally deeded to the members, who were reorganized under Rev. Israel S. Campbell as the First Regular Missionary Baptist Church in 1867. The present name was adopted during the pastorate of Rev. P. A. Shelton around 1903. Other prominent pastors have included Rev. H. M. Williams (1904–33), who served as moderator of the Lincoln District Baptist Association and had the task of rebuilding the church after the Galveston hurricane of 1900; Rev. G. L. Prince (1934–56), who later served as president of the National Baptist Convention of America and Mary Allen College in Crockett, Texas; and Rev. R. E. McKeen (1957–78), who also served as moderator of the Lincoln District Association. Construction of the present brick church began in 1916 and was completed at a cost of $18,000. In 1973 the church began renovations that included the installation of air-conditioning and heating and the refurbishing of the stained-glass windows. A historical marker was placed at the church site in 1981. Rev. Andrew W. Berry was elected pastor in 1984. In 1993 the church had more than 200 members.
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Truett Latimer, Avenue L Missionary Baptist Church (MS, Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin).
Churches and Synagogues
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Avenue L Baptist Church,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 28, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
May 1, 1995
Most Recent Revision Date:
June 16, 2020
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: