May 29, 1842
In 1842, members of the Ocmulgee Baptist Church in nearby Perry County placed an ad in a local Selma paper to gauge interest in starting a new church in the area. The response was favorable, so First Baptist Church of Selma was founded on May 29, 1842. After the Battle of Selma in April 1865, the church was the only one in the area still open for Sunday services, and Union soldiers attended services. Over the years, First Baptist Church of Selma staff have helped plan and establish many sister churches around Alabama, including First Baptist Church (also in Selma), which originally was the First Colored Baptist Church. That church became an important symbol during the civil rights movement as host to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
The First Baptist Church of Selma, Dallas County, was dedicated in 1904. Constructed in the High Victorian Gothic style, the church features a stained-glass window designed by Selma artist Clara Weaver Parrish and manufactured by Tiffany and Company. The congregation itself was established in 1842 in the city. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo courtesy of DXR; Creative Commons)
First Baptist Church, Selma, 2010. (The George F. Landegger Collection of Alabama Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)
Selma artist Clara Weaver Parrish designed this mosaic for the First Baptist Church of Selma in 1903. Known as the Louise Short Woodson Memorial Mosaic, it honors a church member who donated her plantation to the Alabama State Baptist Convention to serve as the Alabama Widows and Children’s Home. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo courtesy of the First Baptist Church of Selma)
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.