District 4 Council Woman Cassandra Lee will present a proclamation commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Freeman Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church on behalf of the City of Moulton at the church’s Anniversary Service on Sunday, July 14.
Freeman Tabernacle began hosting a series of community activities starting in January this year in celebration of the church’s 150 years of service to the community.
The church will host a Celebration Banquet at DoubleTree by Hilton-Riverfront in Decatur on Saturday, July 13 at 3 p.m. before their Anniversary Service on July 14.
A special service with Rev. Dr. Julius R. Scruggs will begin at 11 a.m. next Sunday, which will conclude Freeman Tabernacle’s series of celebrations.
Celebrations this year also included a church service honoring guests from Smith Chapel C.M.E, a Black History Program with speaker WHNT Channel 19 Meteorologist Ben Smith, and a special service honoring guests from Moulton Baptist Church.
“This is a church I’ve been a part of for all my life,” Lee said in a council meeting Monday. “The city has used this church for a voting poll, we’ve used it as a daycare, it has served as a school and a community center. It was a place for blacks to come and learn without having to fear in doing so. For the community, it offered a place for everyone to come together without fear.”
According to a pamphlet presented by the church, Freeman Tabernacle established its first building of worship in July of 1869, but the church’s history dates back even further.
Before emancipation, many members of the black community were forced to attend worship services at Moulton Baptist Church. Although the Civil War granted blacks the freedom to worship where they chose, many black citizens continued to worship at the white church until July 25, 1869, when a letter granted their dismissal.
“Isaac N. Owens, a prominent white citizen in Moulton, gave land for the ‘Colored Baptist and Methodist Church,’” the pamphlet reads. “According to the deed, the lot was to be used for a schoolhouse and church. For a short time, the Baptist and Methodist worshipped together.”
Church Deacons King Crayton, George Pruitt, Tandy Crayton and Ben Warren paid $50 to John Pruitt on Jan. 3, 1874 for the five-acre lot where Freeman Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church sits today.
Several pastors led the church until John Harrison Freeman, the oldest child of George and LeAnna Freeman and the man whom the church is named after, arrived sometime between 1870 and 1880.
Freeman was born a slave in Tuscaloosa County on Oct. 25, 1862. He served in every capacity at the church and was named its pastor in 1898, the pamphlet said.
“When the church fell into disrepair, Freeman started construction of a new church in 1929. The church was built with free labor and completed in 1930.”
Rev. Freeman died at his home on May 14, 1933, before the cornerstone was laid in 1942. He had pastored the church for 35 years, and it would later be named in his honor.
“Through the years, Freeman Tabernacle has been a school, voting place and community center,” the pamphlet reads, “But most importantly, it has been the place where blacks could sing, shout, pray and worship the Lord freely.”
For more information concerning the church’s celebrated history and commemorative events, call 256-974-6107, or email FTMBC@att.
Freeman Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church is located at 2871 Byler Road in Moulton.
Sunday school begins at 9:30 a.m., Sunday Morning Divine Worships is at 11 a.m. and Wednesday Night Bible Study takes place at 7 p.m.