Shiloh Baptist Church is located at 1500 9th Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001 in the historic Shaw District. The church was founded in Fredericksburg, VA in 1804.


Origins in Fredericksburg VA

The Shiloh Baptist Church was organized by its white members in 1804. The church's membership included some free blacks but most were slaves. The black members were subjected to segregated seating. The church was sold to African American members in 1854, and this congregation was led by a white pastor.From Strength to Strength: A Journey of Faith 1863-1988, p. 25

Civil War

At the start of the Civil War in 1861, Shiloh had about 750 members. The Civil War disrupted the church's life but also brought the possibility of equality for blacks. The Shiloh religious services were discontinued when the Union Army wanted to use the church as a hospital because of a planned attack on Fredericksburg in June 1862. The Union Army protected and helped the slaves and free blacks escape to Washington D.C. About 400 members of the Shiloh Baptist Church of Fredericksburg arrived in Washington D.C. Once in Washington D.C., they became free civilians in April 1862 when Congress emancipated the slaves of the District of Columbia.

Move to Washington, D.C.


Sunday School directed by J. McCleary Perkins, a white Union soldier, met in shanty on L St NW between 16th and 17th Streets. White and black teachers gave instruction on religion and basic reading and writing.


January 1 - Emancipation Proclamation. September – Shiloh Baptist Church granted recognition by council. Rev. William Walker elected first pastor. 1864 Membership purchased building on L St NW between 16th and 17th. 1869 Membership numbered 243. Purchased larger building with Fredericksburg funds.

Growth of the church at current location

1924 Shiloh moves to 9th and P Streets. L Street property sold for $60,000. 9th and P and adjacent property purchased in November 1924. 1945 First black church to unite with the Council of Church Women. 1950 Carter Woodson, a church neighbor, was a guest speaker for Negro History Week (an annual participation until his death). 1980 Ted Kennedy addressed the congregation of the church as part of his presidential campaign of 1980. 1991 A fire nearly destroyed the entire church building.

Presidential visits

President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy attended a performance of spirituals and gospel music, hosted by Leontyne Price in December 1983. The choir of Howard University appeared alongside Price; other performers included Lillias White, Kevette Cartledge, David Weatherspoon, and the Richard Smallwood Singers. It was broadcast as the 1983 Christmas Special of ''In Performance at the White House''. President Bill Clinton addressed the congregation as part of Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign. On April 24, 2011, President Barack Obama and his family attended the Easter Sunday service at the church, the first presidential visit to the congregation.


External links

Cultural Tourism DC: Shaw Heritage Trail

Fredericksburg Baptist Church, Fredericksburg, Virginia
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