First African Baptist Church



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Civil Rights Tour
First African Baptist Church

Organized in 1866 by Rev. Prince Murrell. During the years, Pastor T.Y. Rogers led the church that played a crucial role during the Civil Rights movement. All civil rights meetings were held in this church. The abilities and influences of Rev. Rogers helped to hasten the day when civil rights for African Americans became reality.

 

The members of the African Baptist Church were instrumental in Tuscaloosa’s Civil Rights Movement. In August 1963, Rev. T. Y. Rogers Jr. was called to the pastorate of the church at age 28. At his installation program, Dr.



Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the sermon. Rev. Rogers was a dynamic leader. He led the Civil Rights Movement in Tuscaloosa and organized The Tuscaloosa Citizens for Action Committee. All Civil Rights meetings were held in this church. 

On June 9, 1964, police fired tear gas through the stained glass windows at the church and as the group emerged they were attacked and beaten.  The group had planned to march to the Courthouse in protest of white and colored facilities and the continued segregation at the Courthouse.  This event is known as "Bloody Tuesday".  Over 90 people were beaten and jailed that day.  Rev. Thomas Linton, along with assistance from Dr. Martin Luther King worked to get those who had been jailed released over the course of the week.



Murphy African American Museum

Tuscaloosa’s first licensed black mortician, Mr. Will J. Murphy, built this two-story craftsman bungalow in the early 1920s as his private residence. Today, the structure operates as a museum focusing on the lifestyle of affluent blacks during the early 1900s.


Greenwood Cemetery

Greenwood is one of the oldest cemeteries in Tuscaloosa County. In it are the graves of many of early Tuscaloosa’s most prominent citizens. Among those is Dr. John Drish, a famed doctor and landowner, and Solomon Perteat, a prominent free, African American craftsman who lived in Tuscaloosa prior to the Civil War.


Howard’s and Linton’s Barbershop

As a minister and owner of Howard’s and Linton’s Barbershop on T.Y. Rogers Avenue, Rev. Thomas Linton led much of the civil rights struggle in the 1950s and 1960s that were fought on that street. He helped form the ministerial alliance with Rev. T.Y. Rogers Jr. for whom the historical block was renamed, and led mass meetings at the First African Baptist Church that was bombed with tear gas June 9, 1964. After that, Linton persuaded the city’s white leaders to hire blacks as clerks and cashiers for the first time in stores outside the black district.


Magnolia Grove

Historic home of Spanish-American War hero and U.S. Congressman Richmond Pearson Hobson. The mansion is filled with original family furniture and the site includes a detached kitchen and a slave house. In addition to his military fame, Hobson was a Progressive-era politician who championed women’s rights and civil rights, as well as a national leader in the fight against alcohol and drug abuse.


Safe House Museum

On the night of March 21, 1968, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. sought refuge from the Ku Klux Klan inside this small home in Greensboro, Alabama. (This occurred just two weeks prior to the assassination of Rev. King in Memphis, TN.) Mrs. Theresa Burroughs, a close friend of the King family and an active participant of the Civil Rights Movement, turned this small shotgun house into the Safe House Black History Museum which documents the local struggle for equality.


Gayle Tunstall House) Home is now a personal residence.

Built in 1828-1829 by John Gayle, sixth Governor of Alabama. Birthplace of Amelia Gayle Gorgas, wife of Gen. Josiah Gorgas, Chief of Ordnance, CSA, mother of William Crawford Gorgas. Josiah Gorgas later served as President of the University of Alabama, Amelia Gorgas served as librarian at the University from 1882 to 1906. The University’s main library is named in honor of her. The Gorgas’ son, William, served as the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army who made possible the completion of the Panama Canal by eradicating yellow fever in the Canal Zone.


Foster Auditorium (Malone-Hood Plaza)

Location of the “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door” incident that occurred on June 11, 1963. Governor George C. Wallace attempted to block two black students, Vivian Malone, and James Hood, from enrolling at the University. President John F. Kennedy called on the Alabama National Guard to forcibly allow the students to enter the building if need be. Wallace denounced the actions, but, seeing as he could not win against the combined efforts of the Guard, federal marshals and Deputy United States Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, stepped aside, returning to the state capital as Malone and Hood entered for registration. The incident is seen as one of the seminal events in the Civil Rights Movement in America.


President’s Mansion Slave House

The former slave quarters behind the mansion serve as a reminder of the darker moments in The University of Alabama history.

 

Paul W. Bryant Museum

In the museum, the team photos tell an implicit story of racial segregation, ending abruptly in 1971. Beginning with that year, photos of African American stars, including John Mitchell and Sylvester Croom, assume their places amid the memorabilia. Elsewhere in the museum, one of the most prominent exhibits is an oil painting near the entrance, showing Cornelius Bennett, an African American, sacking Notre Dame quarterback Steve Beuerlein in Alabama’s first victory over the Fighting Irish.


Dinah Washington Cultural Arts

The Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center (CAC) is a hub for the arts in Tuscaloosa and houses a black box theatre/workshop space which is perfect for family programming, educational opportunities and rehearsal space or community meeting space for rent. In addition, the CAC houses offices for Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra and Tuscaloosa Community Dancers and a gallery space for The University of Alabama. The Arts Council has already raised $$1,101,305 and needs an additional $53,000 to cover the cost of construction on the first floor to create the space.


 

 

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