The King Solomon Baptist Church, located in Detroit, Michigan, is notable for its Gothic-styled architecture and its Art Deco-styled auditorium. Originally built for Temple Baptist, a conservative, pro-segregationist church, it became home to King Solomon Baptist which was where Malcolm X delivered Message for the Grass Roots, where he called for a violent “black revolution.”
Temple Baptist Church
The Gothic-styled church, completed in 1920, housed Temple Baptist Church from 1934 to 1951. In 1937, an Art Deco-styled auditorium was completed across the street from the church.6 Like many churches, it was home to a corner pharmacy which helped pay off the construction bonds of the building and to help cover future maintenance costs.
Temple was a conservative, pro-segregationist church that barred African-Americans from attending,1 and boasted a congregation of 5,000 at its peak.4 After the black community began to dominate the demographics in the Northwest Goldberg neighborhood, Temple relocated to a large facility on Grand River Avenue where there was a sizable white population.4 But after the neighborhood became more mixed demographically, Temple once again relocated to West Chicago Avenue near Telegraph Road.
In September 1985, the deacons of the church voted 29 to 7 to end the anti-black policy of the church, allowing them membership. The 9,500-member congregation was informed of the decision although there was much resistance.4 Ultimately, Temple declined, losing 75% of its attendance and 90% of its members.
King Solomon Baptist Church
King Solomon Baptist Church was located at 9244 Delmar Street, however in 1952, it relocated into the former home of Temple after it had moved out of the city.2 5 It was the first African-American church in the city to be on a major thoroughfare. The basement held youth activities that included roller skating, dances and a choir. It was also a youth boxing center.
The Art Deco-styled auditorium across the street soon became a popular venue for influential black leaders, and was where Malcolm X delivered Message for the Grass Roots, where he attacked the non-violent civil rights movement and called for a violent “black revolution.” In his speech, he noted that Black Americans had a common enemy: white people.3 The church was also host to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Thurgood Marshall, who was the chief counsel for the NAACP and later appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Johnson. Marshall oversaw the landmark Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka case.1
On March 22, 2011, the Detroit City Council designated King Solomon and another church within a historic district.1
- Neavling, Steve. “King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit gets a 2nd chance.” Detroit Free Press 23 Mar. 2011: n. pag. Ongo. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. Article.
- “King Solomon Baptist Church.” Facebook. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. Article.
- Malcolm X. Malcolm X Speaks. Ed. George Breitman. 1965. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1990. 4-5.Print.
- “History: Truman Dollar.” All About Baptists. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. Article.
- Swanson, Chrissa. “The Rev. Boone’s legacy lives on at King Solomon.” n.d.: n. pag. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. Article.