Antioch Baptist Church

Sewickley Black History Tour

Antioch Baptist Church

Sewickley, Pennsylvania 15143, United States

Created By: Sweetwater Center for the Arts


Antioch Freewill Baptist Church
332 Elizabeth St, Sewickley, PA

At one time Sewickley supported five predominantly Black congregations, Antioch Freewill Baptist Church is one of the three that is still in operation today. Organized in 1890 with the leadership of Rev. C.W. Frazer, it was the first African American Baptist church in Sewickley. The church began meetings in small dwellings around town, and after a devastating fire to one of those locations, the church purchased the land they occupy today. Originally two houses stood here and in 1918-19 the church you see today was built. In the early days of this congregation, baptisms were held in the Ohio river at Chestnut Street. A vital part of the community, as all the churches are, Antioch has offered more than worship and ministry through the years. A place to gather, celebrate, and enjoy friendship and family, this congregation is thriving today with the leadership of Rev. Travis C. Coon.

Black History of the Time (1890-present)
Around the time that community members were gathering to form the Antioch Freewill Baptist Church here in Sewickley, the National Baptist Convention of the United States of America was organizing. This time period, soon after Reconstruction, ushered in a large number of Black churches being formed across the north and south. Many churches began with meetings in homes and parks, with the members eventually funding the purchase of a property or building on donated land. Black churches are integral to their community, being not only a place to worship, but an important ingredient in the social lives of their members. Congregations across America offered social opportunities and events, locations to meet and organize for political issues, social welfare and humanitarian programs, fundraising for education or healthcare, in some cases even becoming a school or missionary. Often the Black church would be the only place to offer refuge and support to African Americans dealing with daily instances of oppression and racism.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Sewickley Black History Tour


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