In This Sacred Place: First African Baptist Church
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(Singleton-Prather) I see First African Baptist
Church as a very significant place historically
for Africans in Beaufort County, when you think of the Africans here
being the first to be freed during the Civil War.
(male speaker) This church was built by hand by freedmen,
and its specific point of reference in its history
is that it was officially founded January 1, 1865,
and that is the same date as the Proclamation of Emancipation.
(Singleton-Prather) § Well, me come dis far… §§
(female speaker) This church was bought from the Beaufort Baptist Church deacons.
Before that, we had a praise house next door to the church,
and we worshipped in the praise house until we were able to buy this building.
It’s very sacred, because our forefathers worked very hard
to obtain this church. Think of slaves who worked and toiled all
day and took time in the evenings
to help with the building of this church. (McBride) It is uniquely built
in that it was built by hand with locking grooves.
There are joints that fit into each other that were carved and put together by wooden
nails or pegs. This allows the building to sway at high winds,
in the event of hurricanes or any other type of natural storm that comes
through here, and that’s why it has lasted as long as it
has, because of its give-and-take in its design.
(Smalley) We just love this church, and it’s so significant because it’s located
on the Point, the heart of the historical district of Beaufort.
Well, the sacredness of this site, personally I believe the sacredness resides
in a person as God resides in them.
However, there are sacred sites as to history, and because of our founding fathers
and the blood, sweat, and tears that was poured into this building,
it gives one a sense of awe, especially standing in the pulpit,
to know hundreds of sermons have been preached there
and that different pastors, older and wiser than myself,
have stood there and that I would be honored a place there.
I’ve stayed here because of the people, my devotion to our history,
but mostly my devotion to God. (Singleton-Prather) § Me come this far. §
§ Me find no fault. § § Me feel like journey on. §§

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