Friendship Baptist Church

Friendship Baptist Church

In 1916 the Rev. Samuel S. Cumby founded Friendship Baptist Church, an African-American congregation, on Russell Street. The Rev. John Henry Johnson (1878-1957) began to lead the church the next year. Its membership grew rapidly over the next two decades forcing several moves in search of more space.  In 1935 Rev Johnson and the approximately 1,000-member church moved to their first long-term location, at 623 Rowena, later renamed Mack Avenue. By this time, the church had more than twenty-five auxiliaries and clubs engaged in such community outreach efforts as Red Cross projects, food programs, and volunteering. In 1969 Friendship Baptist Church became the second African American Church to join the Detroit Association of American Baptist Churches.
photo of Friendship Baptist Church

Side 2

In the 1950s Detroit began urban renewal. Meant to improve the city with highway, housing and public building projects, the effort also destroyed neighborhoods, including “Black Bottom,” where Friendship Baptist Church was located. In 1958 the Rev. Louis Johnson (1930-2008), the churches third pastor heard that Friendship would be razed for the Detroit Medical Center project. After a three-year battle to stay in the area, the church became the first approved for a new site. The building was leveled in 1963.  This modern-style church was designed by Wallace Kagawa, and architect with Minoru Yamasaki and Associates, who helped design the World Trade Centers in New York City. Opened in April 1964,Friendship was the first Detroit church built in an urban renewal area.

Photo courtesy of American Baptist Churches of Michigan
Registered Site L2298
Erected 2016

Location: 3900 Beaubien
Detroit, Wayne County

Topics:
Baptist Churches

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Latitude: 42.3521635, Longitude: -83.0530709

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