The Founding of Second Baptist
In the decades following the Civil War, several African American individuals and families migrated to Wooster from southern states. Between 1860 and 1880, the African American population in Wooster grew from 7 to 32. United by their heritage and their Baptist faith, African American families came together to hold religious meetings at the fire station on Spink Street. In 1892, this small Baptist congregation was invited to worship at Bethany Baptist Church (now called First Baptist).1 Shortly after joining Bethany Baptist, however, Richard L. Morrison held a meeting at his home with other African American community leaders including Henry Smith, Henry Follis, Samuel Johnson, and Sally Craig; they decided that the African American community of Wooster needed their own space to practice religion. At this meeting in 1892, Second Baptist Church was established.2 The founding members of the congregation raised money, each pledging at least twenty-five dollars, and purchased a plot of land on Vine Street from Jacob Frick. In 1894, the building was complete and the congregation held a dedication ceremony, with President Scovel of The University of Wooster delivering the keynote address.
1 “100 Years of Influence,” The Daily Record, Oct. 10, 1992, A4.
2 “Second Baptist to Mark 71st Founding Anniversary,” The Daily Record, Oct. 2, 1965, 5.