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VIDEO: South Georgia African American church receives $155K toward historic preservation

First Missionary Baptist Church is getting the money
Posted at 5:38 PM, Jan 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-18 17:38:58-05
  • The National Trust for Historic Preservation is awarding First Missionary Baptist Church with $155,000.
  • The idea is to equip historical black churches so that they may be preserved.
  • Check out the video above to hear from someone who has been a member for over 60 years.


"Black churches have been the consciousness of America to push this nation forward," said Reverend Jeremy G. Rich, Pastor, First Missionary Baptist Church.

If you're familiar with Thomasville, Georgia then you've heard of First Missionary Baptist Church. Its original structure was built in 1853.

"The enslaved people would come and worship in the afternoons while the whites would worship in the mornings," said Rich.

The building you see was built 124 years ago. First Missionary was at the cornerstone of the civil rights era. Now it's getting its just due.

"I was in New York in an Uber, and I started screaming because I found out we got the grant," said Rich.

Reverend Jeremy G. Rich is talking about the National Trust for Historic Preservation awarding the church with $155,000. The idea is to equip historical black churches so that they may be preserved.

Lifelong members like Deacon Keith Thomas were ecstatic to hear the news. "It feels good. It was a blessing," said Keith Thomas, Deacon, First Missionary Baptist Church.

He tells me he's attended this church for over 60 years. One of his earliest memories being, "I remember getting baptized by Dr. IL Mullins. I was 5 or 6 years old at the time," said Thomas.

Thomas tells me he credits his place of worship for a lot.

"I wouldn't be the person I am had it not been for the church, Sunday school lessons, and the people that have gone on before us," said Thomas.

So, Reverend Rich tells me they are taking the money and pouring back into the church to fix things such as the roof and the eves of around the sanctuary.

"It's a humbling privilege to serve this congregation and to build upon legacy of those who have come before me," said Rich.

As for what's next, Pastor Rich tells me they are working to have First Missionary Baptist Church listed as a nationally registered historic place.