Six divinity students from the Louisville Presybterian Theological Seminary founded the earliest predecessor of the Presbyterian Community Center as Hope Sunday School on February 6, 1898, in a lottery office on Preston Street. A second Sunday School developed a year later at Jackson and Lampton and eventually became Grace Mission Station. Support for both endeavors, located in the Smoketown neighborhood east of downtown Louisville, came from students and professors at the Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
In his unpublished history of the Presbyterian Community Center, Rev. John Little wrote: "In the original plan the students only contemplated carrying on the Sunday School for three months, to the close of the Seminary year and to conduct on Sunday and Wednesday evenings preaching service in the same building. As the weeks passed, however, the interest of the workers increased and the pupils' willingness to be taught unconsciously generated in the minds of the founders the conviction that some effort should be made to evangelize the colored race, and systematically they visited the absent pupils in their homes and were appalled as they saw the poverty of their wards, the dens of iniquity in the neighborhood, the saloons and gambling holes, and became conscious of the fact that there was little effort being made by the christian forces of the city to minister to the needs of this particular section." (John Little, Manuscript History, Box V, Folder 2.)
The two Sunday Schools expanded to become organized churches with broad community programs. Financial support came from sponsoring churches, friends, and the Community Chest. Grace and Hope came to be called the Presbyterian Colored Missions, but in 1955 the name changed to the John Little Presbyterian Centers. In 1965 the name changed again to Presbyterian Community Center, John Little, Founder. The missions have occupied several locations in east downtown Louisville. Rev. Little served as superintendent until his death in 1948, when his assistant, Rev. Charles Allen, took over. Allen died in 1962 and Rev. Grayson L. Tucker, Jr., became executive director of the John Little Presbyterian Centers. The Presbyterian Community Center is currently located at 760 South Hancock Street and is a Metro United Way agency.
Among the activities administered by the center through the years were cooking and sewing classes, manual training, the first playground for black children in the city of Louisville (1904), first girls' club (1906), kindergartens established when they were dropped from the Public Schools (1956), extensive recreational programs, child health care, and activities for old age groups.