Antioch Baptist Church, Camden AL – 143 Years Strong

From our first sleepless night on the floor of Antioch Baptist Church in June 1965, we voter registration field workers considered the church our home. Even after men with guns shot up the church, even after they attacked local youth co-workers who were guarding the building, even after David Colston was murdered in the parking lot in 1966 – Antioch Baptist felt like the one safe place in Camden for civil rights workers. Whatever religion we had (or didn’t have) before The Movement, once we were in Alabama, we all became Baptists. Freedom songs, hymns, prayers and petitions filled the air. Local leaders and brave pastors like Rev. SJ Freeman welcomed mass meetings, and even hosted Martin Luther King Jr, defending the right to assemble against the powers that tried to abolish this freedom of speech. Most importantly, the community persevered and preserved what is now one of the oldest active congregations in Wilcox County.

Antioch Baptist Church during renovation

Antioch Baptist Church during renovation

Antioch Baptist Church after renovation - John Matthews was one of several community leaders who worked on restoration and historic designation.
Antioch Baptist Church after renovation – John Matthews was one of several community leaders who worked on restoration and historic designation.

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