Olivet Baptist Church

3101 S King Dr Chicago

Chicago 1919 Race Riots Bike Tour/Olivet Baptist Church
Newberry Library
Written By Newberry Library

Olivet Baptist Church

First founded in 1850 as Xenia Baptist Church then becoming Zoar Baptist Church, Olivet Baptist Church is the result of a merger between Zoar Baptist Church and Zion Baptist Church in 1861. The Church has occupied several buildings over the years and purchased the building it currently occupies in 1918. The 3101 S King Drive building was built by the First Baptist Church in 1874 and was sold to Olivet Baptist Church in 1918. First Baptist Church gave Olivet possession of the church on July 1st and services were first held on September 29th, 1918. During 1903 it boasted 600 members and continued to grow during the 1920s where it reached 11,000 members, eventually reaching 20,000 during the 1940s. It was the largest African American church in the United States and was, during the 1920s, the largest Protestant church in the world. As the oldest Black Baptist Church in Chicago, Olivet is often called the “mother” church of other Black Baptist congregations. Olivet Baptist was an active station on the Underground Railroad and later the headquarters of the Peace and Protective Association, an organization that worked to maintain and restore peace to Chicago during the Race Riots of 1919. During the Great Migration Olivet served as a community center, maintaining forty different social, economic, and cultural organizations.

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Olivet Baptist Church

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