Old Mount Zion Baptist Church, 1906, Albany

Mount Zion is one of the largest congregations in Albany today. Their old home, now a part of the Albany Civil Rights Museum, was built in 1906. But the history goes back to just after the Civil War. According to their website: The Mount Zion Baptist Church of Albany, GA was organized December 8, 1865 by the late Rev. R. R. Watson. The church’s original location was in a building then known as the Jerry Walter’s Blacksmith Shop, which was located on the corner of State Street (now Highland Avenue) and Jackson Street. A successful financial drive made it possible to purchase land for the church at Washington Street and Highland Avenue. Twenty-six hundred dollars was raised for this purpose. However, before the structure was completed, it was destroyed by a storm. Nevertheless, the site at South Street (now Whitney Avenue) and Jefferson Street was purchased. An old house brought from Leesburg, Georgia was donated to the congregation by a Yankee Colonel named Howard. This became the first church structure at that location. Northern teachers taught school in that building until a schoolhouse was later erected.

Old Mount Zion hosted some of the earliest meetings of the Albany Movement of the Civil Rights Movement and hosted important figures including Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, Andrew Young, and Ralph David Abernathy. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Freedom Singers, who participated in the March on Washington, gave their first performance here.

This church served the congregation until 1972, when they relocated to a larger facility.

National Register of Historic Places

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