Historic Markers Across Alabama

Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal AME Zion Church

Marker ID:  
Location: on Holt Street, Montgomery, Alabama
County: Montgomery
Coordinates: N 32° 22.1    W 086° 19.233
  32.36833333    -86.32055
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: None


Side 1
Located at the heart of Montgomery's historic African-American neighborhoods. Mount Zion A.M.E. Zion Church was constructed in 1899 and heavily remodeled in 1921. It served as a significant Center for religious, political, and social life for blacks in Montgomery throughout most of the twentieth-century. The seeds of protest were growing in Montgomery long before the arrest of Rosa Parks on December 1, 1955, and the bus boycott. Rev. Solomon Seay, pastor of Mt. Zion from 1948-52, led the black community in the early protest as president of the Negro Civic and Improvement League.

On December 5, 1955, the first full day of the bus boycott, Mount Zion Pastor, Rev. Roy Bennett, who was also president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, hosted a meeting of local community leaders. These individuals met in the Mount Zion Church tower, Founded and organized the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). The MIA's first task was coordination an extensive bus boycott. At this meeting Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. was elected president and Rev. Bennett was elected vice-president. Rev. Bennett also served on the transportation committee arranging rides for people during the boycott. The MIA's formation was crucial to

Side 2
the organization and Implementation of civil rights protest in Montgomery. Over the next year the MIA organized carpools and held weekly mass meeting to keep the black community mobilized. Leaders negotiated with Montgomery city officials and launched legal challenges to the city's bus segregation ordinances. The MIA also financially supported the boycott, raising money at meetings and soliciting support from northern and southern civil rights organizations.

Two later pastors of Mt. Zion, Rev. Simmie Walter Schultz and Rev. James T. Hemphill, also served as president of the Black Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. In1971, Mt. Zion's Rev. Percy L. Smith Jr. became the first black man to run for mayor of Montgomery.

Additionally, the church scene in the movie."The Long Walk Home” were filmed in this building. In 1965 participants in the Selma to Montgomery Voter Rights March received refreshments and used the restrooms at mount Zion.

In 1990, the congregation moved to a new sanctuary on West Jeff Davis Avenue

The original Mount Zion AME Zion Church building was listed in the National Register of Historical Places in 2002.

Erected 2002 by National Register of Historic Places.

End of Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal AME Zion Church