Historic Markers Across Alabama

First Baptist Church

Marker ID:  
Location: 709 Martin Luther King Jr. St, Selma, AL
County: Dallas
Coordinates: N 32° 24.876    W 087° 1.07
  32.4146    -87.01783333
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


First Baptist Church
Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail

First Baptist was the first church in Selma to open its doors to members of the Dallas County Voters League as well as to young activists from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. From 1963 to 1965, under the leadership of Reverend M.C. Cleveland Jr., it was the frequent site of mass meetings and nonviolence training sessions. These led to the rallies and demonstrations that culminated in the historic march to Montgomery.

In December 1964, law enforcement authorities in Selma sought an injunction against mass meetings. Martin Luther King Jr. purposely broke the law by delivering a speech at Brown Chapel on January 2, 1965. Although Brown Chapel became King's headquarters during the march to Montgomery, King and his colleagues were frequent speakers here, at what was aptly called "The Movement Church."

At First Baptist Church many African Americans learned the principles of nonviolent protest, sang freedom songs, and filled out voter registration forms for the first time.

2014 National Park Service, Department of the Interior.

End of First Baptist Church