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Bethel Baptist Church (Birmingham, Alabama) facts for kids

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Bethel Baptist Church, Parsonage, and Guardhouse
Bethel Baptist Church.jpg
Bethel Baptist Church in 1993
Bethel Baptist Church (Birmingham, Alabama) is located in Alabama
Bethel Baptist Church (Birmingham, Alabama)
Location in Alabama
Bethel Baptist Church (Birmingham, Alabama) is located in the United States
Bethel Baptist Church (Birmingham, Alabama)
Location in the United States
Location 3233, 3232 and 3236 29th Avenue North, Collegeville, Birmingham, Alabama
Area less than one acre
NRHP reference No. 05000455
Quick facts for kids
Significant dates
Added to NRHP April 5, 2005
Designated NHL April 05, 2005

Bethel Baptist Church is a historic church at 3200 28th Avenue North in the Collegeville neighborhood of Birmingham, Alabama. The church served as headquarters from 1956 to 1961 for the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR), which was led by Fred Shuttlesworth and active in the Birmingham during the Civil Rights Movement. The ACMHR focused on legal and nonviolent direct action against segregated accommodations, transportation, schools and employment discrimination. It played a crucial role in the 1961 Freedom Ride that resulted in federal enforcement of U.S. Supreme Court and Interstate Commerce Commission rulings to desegregate public transportation.

The church's complex during the historic events of the 1950s and 1960s, located nearby on 29th Avenue North, was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage on November 13, 1996. It was then added to the National Register of Historic Places and declared a National Historic Landmark on April 5, 2005. On January 30, 2008, the US Government submitted it to UNESCO as part of an envisaged future World Heritage nomination (along with the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and the 16th Street Baptist Church) and as such it is on the UNESCO 'Tentative List of World Heritage Sites'.


The church's former complex is located near the modern church, with the former church located at the southwest corner of 29th Avenue North and 33rd Street North, and its parsonage and guard house located across 29th Avenue North. The church was built in 1926, and is an architecturally eclectic mix of Gothic and Renaissance styles. The guard house and parsonage are vernacular ranch-style houses; the parsonage was built in 1957 as a replacement for the previous parsonage, which had stood next to the church and was destroyed by a bomb in 1956.

Fred Shuttlesworth served as pastor from 1953 to 1961. The church buildings were bombed on three separate occasions, first on December 25, 1956, again on June 29, 1958, and lastly on December 14, 1962.

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