On this day (June 9) in 1865 several members in good standing were released from three different churches in Charleston, SC in order to form the Morris Street Baptist Church. Their first pastor was Jacob Legare, who served the church for the next twenty years, building a solid practical and doctrinal foundation. It is said that during his tenure he baptized more than 3,000 believers – more than ten per month. The church became the mother to several other congregations, and in one case a number of members were moved overseas to re-form as an independent Baptist church in their new location. In addition, more than a dozen young men were called to the ministry out of the Morris Street Church, several of whom became well-known servants of God.
The second pastor of Morris Street was John L. Dart, a graduate of Newton Theological Seminary. As a young man, he taught school in Washington DC, after which he pastored in Providence, Rhode Island. As the interim pastor of a major pulpit in Augusta, Georgia, a great revival was graciously granted by the Lord, which caught the attention of the afore mentioned the Morris Street Church, to which he was called and served for four years. During his tenure there he baptized more than 500.
Bro Dart may be best known for his pamphlet entitled “The Immersion Issue” in which he challenged several Methodist preachers to a debate on the subject. The challenge was never accepted.
The Morris Street Baptist Church still exists and can be found at #25 Morris Street. The church and all the people mentioned in this article were blacks – and many had been slaves.