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Time Line of Black Baptists in Virginia to 1902
From Encyclopedia Virginia
By Sandy D. Martin
1774 - The New Lights community of free and enslaved African Americans establish the First African Baptist Church in Lunenburg County, later becoming the First Baptist Church in Petersburg. It is one of the oldest African American churches in North America.

1776 - Free and enslaved African Americans meet as the First Baptist Church of Williamsburg at the Carriage House of Robert F. Coles, on Nassau Street.

1841 - First African Baptist Church of Richmond is founded.

1855 - Ebenezer Baptist Church is founded in Richmond.

January 1, 1863 - Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring free all slaves in Confederate-controlled regions and authorizing the enlistment of black men in the Union army.

January 31, 1865 - The U.S. Congress passes the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by a vote of 119 to 56. The amendment abolishes slavery.

August 2, 1865 - The State Convention of the Colored People of Virginia meets in Alexandria and issues a demand for equality as the proper basis for African American freedom.

August 11, 1865 - The Colored Shiloh Baptist Association, a union of individual black congregations in central Virginia, is formed and meets in Richmond.

November 1865 - The American Baptist Home Mission Society establishes the Richmond Theological School for Freedmen. It later will be known as the Colver Institute, the Richmond Theological Institute, and Virginia Union University.

1866 - The Consolidated American Baptist Convention is formed from cooperating regional conventions, and helped southern states create their own state conventions.

1867 - The Reverend James H. Holmes becomes the first black pastor of First African Baptist Church, in Richmond, serving for thirty-two years.

May 9, 1867 - The Virginia Baptist State Convention forms in Portsmouth.

December 3, 1867–April 17, 1868 - Delegates, including many African Americans, meet in Richmond for the constitutional convention, chaired by John C. Underwood. African American men were able to vote for delegates to the convention, and many white men refused to vote in protest.

July 9, 1868 - The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified. It grants citizenship to all African Americans and bars former Confederate officials from holding state or federal political office. A two-thirds vote by both houses will override that limitation in the cases of Robert E. Lee (1975) and Jefferson Davis (1978).

January 26, 1870 - An act of Congress ends Reconstruction in Virginia, readmitting Virginia into the United States and restoring civilian rule.

February 3, 1870 - The Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting African American men the right to vote, is ratified.

1876 - Democrats devoted to white supremacy amend the state constitution to make payment of the poll tax a prerequisite for voting, hoping to disfranchise some black voters.

1880s-1890s - The Baptist Foreign Mission Convention sends missionaries to Africa.

November 22, 1880 - With strong leadership from William W. Colley and other Virginians, the Baptist Foreign Mission Convention, a major forerunner to the National Baptist Convention, organizes in Montgomery, Alabama.

November 1883 - Hartshorn Memorial College, an African American Baptist women's college, opens in Richmond with American Baptist Home Mission Society assistance and with Carrie Victoria Dyer as its principal and Lyman Beecher Tefft as its president.

February 5, 1886 - The Richmond Institute becomes the Richmond Theological Seminary. The school began as a Baptist theological school for black ministerial students, then offered a general education, and now becomes specialized again.

1891 - By this year, no African Americans hold office in the General Assembly.

1895 - The Baptist Foreign Mission Convention and two other groups merge in Atlanta, Georgia, to form the first enduring national organization of black Baptists, the National Baptist Convention.

1897 - With the strong backing of many Virginia black Baptists, the Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention forms in large part over the issue of cooperation between black and white Baptists.

1898 - By this year, African Americans and Republicans have ceased to play a significant role in Virginia politics.

1898 - Some Republicans initiate a "lily white" movement to attract more white voters and distance the party from African American support.

August 22, 1900 - The Virginia Conference of Colored Men meets in Charlottesville to organize against next year's state constitutional convention, the agenda of which includes disfranchising African American men.

June 12, 1901–June 26, 1902 - An elected body of 100 delegates convenes in Richmond for a constitutional convention, and debates for almost a year.

July 10, 1902 - Virginia's Constitution of 1902 becomes law, disfranchising thousands of poor whites and nearly eliminating the state's African American electorate. It replaces Virginia's 1869 Reconstruction-era constitution, which had a universal male suffrage clause. The new constitution also creates the State Corporation Commission to regulate the railroads.


[From Encyclopedia Virginia, On-line edition. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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