This year, Friendship Baptist Church celebrates its 150th anniversary, and the anniversary committee has been hard at work on sesquicentennial plans, including helping church members pronounce the word that means “150th anniversary.”
The church has come far since its humble beginnings in 1862, when congregants met in a boxcar because they did not have funds to buy land. Both Morehouse and Spelman Colleges held their first classes at Friendship. And Atlanta’s first African-American mayor, Maynard H. Jackson, Jr., was not only raised in the church; his father was one of only six pastors who have served the community in its history.
Many of the church elders remember all of the pastors except the very first, Reverend Frank Quareles, who served until 1881. One important event for the anniversary committee will be the dedication of new tombstones for Reverend Quarles and his wife, whose unmarked graves were discovered at Atlanta’s historic Oakland Cemetery.
The anniversary committee is also collecting oral histories of the church, and Vanessa Brown, a member of the Anniversary Committee, invited church elders to record their memories of Friendship Baptist Church and its leaders with StoryCorps Atlanta. (more…)