Freeman Tabernacle will host a series of events in honor of its 150th anniversary.
The celebrations will kick-off on Sunday, Jan. 20 during an 11 a.m. service by honoring guests, Smith Chapel C.M.E.
Freeman Tabernacle will present a Black History Program at 11 a.m. on Feb. 24; honor guests from Moulton Baptist Church during a 2 p.m. service on March 24; and host a concert at 3 p.m. on April 28.
The church will also hold under-the-tent services at 11 a.m. on May 19 and a Celebration Banquet at DoubleTree by Hilton-Riverfront on July 13 at 3 p.m.
The series of events will conclude with 150th Anniversary Services at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the church on July 14.
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, the black people in Moulton could not enjoy the luxury of worshiping freely, and many were forced to attend 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, 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.
Source: Moulton Advertiser