Thirty-Second Street Baptist Church (1924), 518 Thirty-second Street, South, Birmingham, Jefferson County, AL
Photo Caption Pages
South, Birmingham, AL
Find maps of Birmingham, AL
Documentation compiled after 1933.
Survey number HABS AL-984
Unprocessed field note material exists for this structure (N786).
Building/structure dates: 1924 initial construction
Significance: The Thirty-Second Street Baptist Church was organized in the early 20th Century as the Rising Star Baptist Church. Since 1910, the church has been located on 32nd Street (Lots 23 and 24 in Block 472 of the Elyton Land Company survey) in this then residential area of Southside, which spread from the industries of the city center to the mansions of Highland Avenue. These establishments provided employment to church members. In 1924, Rev. Ellis M. Morton (pastor 1921-1940) incorporated the church and spearheaded construction of architect Wallace A. Rayfield's massive and classically proportioned Beaux Arts style structure. Following Reverend Morton's tenure, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, father to popular singer Aretha Franklin, briefly pastored the congregation. Rev. C.H. Parker (pastor 1946-1983) also provided strong and stable leadership of a membership estimated at 300 persons. Until 1963, pastors lived next door in the one-story frame parsonage. The church sanctuary functioned as one big room "for one big family" with services, Sunday School classes and meetings all conducted, at separate times, in the two-story open space. Due to its large seating capacity and supportive pastor, Thirty Second Street Church frequently hosted Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) and other Civil Rights era meetings. In 1995, during the pastorage of the Rev. Roy C. Allen (1984-present), the church moved to a new campus nearer the residences of the current membership. The future of the historic church is uncertain.
Morton, Rev. Ellis M.
Rayfield, Wallace A.
Franklin, Rev. C. L.
Parker, Rev. C. H.
Dennis, Christopher, Field Team
Howell, Brenda, Field Team
Jones, Bill, Field Team
Slaughter, Carol, Field Team
Hamilton, Amy, Field Team
Anderson, Richard K., Delineator
White, Marjorie L., Historian
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
1. PERSPECTIVE OF WEST AND NORTH ELEVATIONS
2. STREET ELEVATION OF PRINCIPLE ENTRANCE FACADE
3. SOUTH FACADE SHOWING STUCCO FINISH
4. REAR FACE OF BUILDING IN PERSPECTIVE FROM THE SOUTH
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