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Historic Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church (1790- )

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Historic Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church, located in downtown Lexington, Kentucky has the oldest African American active congregation west of the Alleghany Mountains. Historic Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church was originally founded as part of First African Baptist Church in 1790 by a slave preacher named Peter Duerett, known in the community as Brother Captain. It is unclear as to the circumstances that led to Historic Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church’s separation from First African Baptist Church but church records reveal Brother Captain, the founder and pastor of both churches, received the deed to Historic Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church’s present day location in 1822.

Brother Captain died in 1823 and the church was led by a number of ministers who continued to spread the gospel throughout the slave and free African American community in Lexington.  Reverend George W. Dupee pastored the church from 1855 until 1864.  During his tenure the church purchased his freedom for $850.00.  In 1867 under the leadership of Reverend William Morrison Bell, the church served as the first school for African American children in Lexington.

Although the church has been located at the same site since its founding in 1822, in 1931 the present day edifice was erected while Reverend E.T. Offutt served as pastor. During his twenty-six year tenure Rev. Offutt served as Chairman of the Emancipation Executive Committee, a sub-committee of the Colored League and Board of Parks, a community organization focused on preserving black cultural identity in Lexington.

In 1940, the church Historic Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church celebrated its sesqui-centennial, and under the Reverend Dr. William A. Jones, Sr. paid off its debts and engaged in several church renovations.  In addition to his pastoral responsibilities, Reverend Jones by the early 1960s served as an advisor to the Lexington branch of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) during the Civil Rights era. Under his leadership Historic Pleasant Green participated in the local campaign to desegregate the public schools and public accommodations.

Reverend Thomas H. Peebles, Jr. is the eighteenth pastor of the Church.  In 1991 under his leadership the church extended its activities into economic development by purchasing nearby downtown property and rehabilitating it. The church used some of the property as a training academy for area children.

Three Historic Pleasant Green Missionary Church pastors, Dr. G. K. Offutt, Dr. W. A. Jones, Sr., and Dr. T.H. Peoples, Jr., have served as national presidents of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.  In 2001 the church was added to the Kentucky State Historical Registry.

Historic Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church continues to grow and today boasts a congregation of more than one thousand members.

Sources:
H.E. Nutter, A Brief History of the First Baptist Church (Black), Lexington, Kentucky (1940), http://baptisthistoryhomepage.com/ky.fayette.fbc.black.lex.html; Historic Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church website, http://www.hpgmbc.com; Kentucky Women in the Civil Rights Era, “Historic Pleasant Green Church,”  http://www.kywcrh.org/voices/churches/historic-pleasant-green-baptist-church;  Kentucky Women in the Civil Rights Era, “Kentucky’s Forefathers of New York’s Rev. William A. Jones, Jr.”, http://www.kywcrh.org/archives/776; Untitled Thesis http://www.uky.edu/Projects/TDA/archive/TDA.pdf.

Contributor:

Eastern Kentucky University

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