Historic Pitts Chapel United Methodist Church is Raising Money for Much-Needed Repairs

Scaffolding is going up inside the sanctuary of Pitts Chapel United Methodist Church near Kimbrough and Chestnut Expressway as crews prepare to work on a ceiling that’s been dropping plaster onto the floor and pews below.

The church is raising money for repairs and is about halfway to meeting its initial fundraising goal of $250,000.

This structure was built in 1911, but the historically Black church goes back many years before that.  According to the church’s former pastor, Reverend Russell Ewell, enslaved people started the church in 1847.

“The powerful thing for me is, when you think about the time that that was, it was pre-Civil War, and you think about the conditions for African Americans at that moment, for enslaved Africans at that moment, to be able to go to your enslavers and ask for permission to start a church when that was not necessarily something that people wanted them to do–to be able to have a place where you can worship,” he said.

Slave masters would sometimes bring in preachers who would emphasize the need for slaves to be obedient to their masters.

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SOURCE: KSMU, Michele Skalicky

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