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Reconstruction Period Research Forum

Church fights to save building

Church fights to save building
Montgomery Advertiser

Information: (344) 265-9361

A Montgomery congregation, whose church was established more than a century ago and played a key role in the civil rights movement in the Capital City, is now fighting to keep its history alive and standing.

Members of Mount Zion AME Zion Church are working to save the historic building at 657 S. Holt St. On Sunday, members plan to unveil a historic marker and pay tribute to their old church and the part it played in the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott. The church also will celebrate its 135th anniversary.

"It's just so much history that we just don't need to eliminate it," said Montgomery County Commissioner Elton Dean, who also is chairman of the trustee board at the church. "Our history is very important, and we need to let our children know the significance of our black churches during that particular point in time."

The church served as a key gathering spot for civil rights leaders after civil rights heroine Rosa Parks was arrested in 1955 when she refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger.

Leaders later met at the historic church, formed the committee that became the Montgomery Improvement Association and waged a successful 381-day bus boycott of the city's segregated buses. It also was at the church that a young Martin Luther King Jr. was elected president of the MIA.

The Alabama Historical Commission recently approved the marker for the congregation. The commission is one of three entities in Alabama that have the power to approve such designations, said Lee Warner, executive director of the Alabama Historical Commission.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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