Second Baptist Church, photo taken 1975
Click above images to enlarge

Second Baptist Church Of Detroit
441 Monroe Street, Detroit - Wayne County
Other Names Second Baptist Church
Property Type church
Historic Use RELIGION
Current Use RELIGION
Style Gothic
Significant Person Ralph Bunche
Fannie Richards
Frederick Douglass
Narrative Description The Second Baptist Church of Detroit is a rectangular plan, three-story, painted brick building of Gothic inspiration. The facade is dominated by a parapeted front-gable framed by stepped buttresses flanked by thin, slope-roofed sections. A large lancet window with wooden tracery fills most of the facade and is framed by light-colored limestone trim. The entrance is fronted by a projecting, one-story crenelated parapet that frames double pointed arch doorways.
Statement of Significance Second Baptist Church of Detroit is the oldest African-American congregation in the Midwest and is one of Michigan's most distinguished sites of ethnic and political history. Built in 1852 and purchased by the congregation in 1857, the church was a stop on the underground railroad and the site of Detroit's first celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation among many other significant events. Organized by thirteen former slaves, the congregation is associated with several eminent individuals including abolitionist Frederick Douglass; Nobel Peace Prize winner and Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr. Ralph Bunche; and Detroit's first African-American school teacher Fannie Richards, who fought for integrated teaching in public schools. Several alterations were made to the structure including major additions in 1880 and 1968 but the original structure remains in good condition.
Marker Name Second Baptist Church
Marker Text SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH Founded in 1836 by thirteen former slaves, this is the oldest black congregation in Michigan. From its beginnings the church has occupied a prominent place in Detroit's black community. In 1839 it established the city's first school for black children, and its first pastor, the Reverend William C. Monroe, was a noted antislavery activist. In 1843 he presided over the first State Convention of Colored Citizens, which met at the Second Baptist Church. Delegates demanded the right to vote and an end to slavery. On January 6, 1863, Detroit's blacks celebrated the Emancipation Proclamation here. Located at this site since 1857, the church has expanded its facilities through the years.
Period of Significance 1826-1865
Significant Date(s) 1857
Registry Type(s) 12/12/1974 Marker erected
03/19/1975 National Register listed
09/17/1974 State Register listed
Site ID# P25242