Sitting on the corner of Dexter Avenue and Decatur Street in Montgomery, Alabama since 1889, the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church has a long history in the African American community of the state. Originally known as the Second Colored Baptist Church and now officially known as the Decatur Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, this modest but beautiful building was built to replace the small wood-frame church built in 1879.
The service to the African American community began in 1887 when the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church hosted the first registration of students for Alabama State University and this type of community service continued throughout the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the pastor of this church from 1954 to 1960 and it was from his basement office that he organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. Dr. King was not the only influential pastor of this church as he took over the position from Vernon Johns who was an early leader in the Civil Rights Movement who took over for William H. McAlpine, a co-founder of Selma University.
Designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1974, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church is located just a short distance from the Alabama State Capitol and the Dexter Parsonage Museum. The church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and Sunday services may still be attended here but arrive early as it will fill up.