This collection, which contains significant amounts of material from the 19th century, consists of records of meetings, including church business and deacons' meetings, as well as records relating to membership (membership lists, individuals joining the church and requesting letters to join other congregations). This includes church minutes from 1842 to 1948 and membership lists and directories from the 19th and 20th centuries. There are also records relating to the choir dating to the 1870s as well as 20th century records of the church's music program. The collection also includes a limited amount of material relating to finances and the physical operation of the church building.
Restrictions on Access
Use microfilm rather than fragile materials.
3.25 linear feet (2 records center boxes and 2 flat boxes; microfilm)
Originally known as the African or First Colored Baptist Church, the church was organized as a house of worship for the slaves of white parishioners of the First Baptist Church. The Reverend Henry Kiger was the first pastor and was assisted by the white members. Under the leadership of pastor Henry Adams black members were taken out of the white Baptist church in 1842. In 1848 it established itself on Fifth Street south of Walnut (now Muhammad Ali Blvd.). The real estate held by the Fifth Street Baptist Church was the first owned by blacks in Louisville. The church's social support programs began in the 19th century, with programs to support the poor, to provide healthcare to freed slaves, to care for orphans and the aged, and to provide college scholarships. They also supported missionary work in Africa. The church is currently located at 1901 West Jefferson Street in Louisville.