Springfield Baptist Church, Oldest Black Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina, to Get Historical Marker

4798 Springfield Baptist Church officials say they plan to mark another milestone for the oldest black Baptist church in the city of Greenville when they unveil a historical marker in about three weeks.

Trustees, Keith Barksdale, left, and Xanthene Norris with Dr. Echol Nix, Jr. are planning the celebration for Springfield Baptist Church's 146th year and has been granted a historical marker which will be unveiled on July 14, 2013. KEN OSBURN/Staff/Greenville News
The church will observe its 146th anniversary, said Keith Barksdale, a church trustee involved in the planning.

"It will be a short ceremony," he said, and planners expect about 350 guests.

Rick Owens, a Greenville historian, said the church is noting a significant milestone.

A state-issued historical marker "can do a service to a city or county to tell a history," he said.

Springfield also occupies another chapter in Greenville's history as a site where civil rights marchers met.

The two-sided metal marker is free standing and expected to be posted at the church's entrance at 600 E. McBee Ave., planners said.

Xanthene Norris, a longtime member, sat down recently with Barksdale and associate minister Echol Nix Jr. to brainstorm the upcoming events.

Barksdale said Senior Pastor Kippie C. Brown and the church's trustees like the marker location. Brown took the reins from Pastor John Corbitt, who led the congregation for about 37 years, officials said.

Nix, who teaches religion at Furman University, said he has checked with local experts and the marker will add to the historical overview of Greenville's black history.

"Greenville has very little written black history," he said. "It'll add to the history."

The church enlisted help from historians Owens and Ruth Ann Butler, both members of Greenville County Historic Preservation Commission.

Owens said he and Butler, who performed the marker research, headed the yearlong effort before the state Department of Archives and History approved the sign, which costs about $2,000.

Source: Greenville Online | E. Richard Walton
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