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Bulloch History by Roger Allen
The history of Black Baptist Associations
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    In 1840, black Baptists formed the “American Baptist Missionary Convention”, under the leadership of Rev. William Simmons. In addition, the “Western Colored Baptist Convention” was formed in 1853 by churches in Illinois and Missouri. It later re-organized to become the “Northwestern and Southern Baptist Convention”.
    From these groups, the “Consolidated American Baptist Convention” was established in 1866, with the merger of the “American Baptist Missionary Convention” and the “Northwestern and Southern Baptist Convention”. Soon thereafter, the “Foreign Mission Baptist Convention of the U.S.A” was formed at the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama by the Rev. William W. Colley in 1880.
    Trying to still coordinate all of the black Baptist efforts even more closely, the “American National Baptist Convention” was established in Saint Louis, Missouri in 1886 by Rev. W. Bishop Johnson. On the East Coast, the “Baptist National Education Convention” was established in the District of Columbia in 1893.
    In 1895, The “National Baptist Convention of the United States of America,” the largest Black Baptist Association in America, was founded at the Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta when the “Foreign Mission Baptist Convention of the U.S.A.”, the “American National Baptist Convention”, and the “Baptist National Educational Convention”  were combined. They had 33,000 churches with a membership of 8.2 million in 1960.
    The “United Free Will Baptists” organization was formed at Saint John's Church in Kinston, North Carolina on May 8, 1901.  It operates Kinston College and publishes The Free Will Baptist Advocate. There are about 50,000 members in 250 churches.
    In 1915, the Rev R. Boyd formed the rival “National Baptist Convention of America”, which at one time had 3.5 million members. Another disparate group, the “National Baptist Evangelical Life and Soul Saving Assembly of the U.S.A.” was founded in 1920 by A. A. Banks, with 264 churches and 57,674 members in 1951.
    In 1961 another split in the “National Baptist Convention” occurred, which led to the “Progressive National Baptist Convention” being created by Martin Luther King and others, which has some 2000 churches and nearly 2.5 million members.
    In 1968, the “United American Free Will Baptist Conference” was formd, which has some 20 churches in the Southeastern United States, with 500 members. Finally, in 1988, the “National Missionary Baptist Convention of America” was formed because of another split in the “National Baptist Convention”. It claims to have 2.5 million members.

    Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look at Bulloch County's historical past. E-mail Roger at roger
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