King Solomon Baptist Church

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

Sources

  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.
  2. “King Solomon Baptist Church.” Facebook. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. Article.
  3. Malcolm X. Malcolm X Speaks. Ed. George Breitman. 1965. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1990. 4-5.Print.
  4. “History: Truman Dollar.” All About Baptists. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. Article.
  5. Swanson, Chrissa. “The Rev. Boone’s legacy lives on at King Solomon.” n.d.: n. pag. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. Article.
  6. Cornerstone.

5 Comments

  1. I was going down memory lane after seeing Rev Williams of the current King Solomon Baptist Church on TV. I am 59 years old and use to attend pre-school at King Solomon Baptist Church. The name of the pastor at that time that comes to mind was Rev. Boone. can’t remember a first name but remember his face and his wife’s face because they were so hands on with the pre-school located at the facility across the street from the church (in the basement) I remember the play ground and that is a very pleasant memory for me as a child. Thank God some buildings still stand to jog your memory of your past.

  2. My name is Raymond Norman Reverand Williams Pastor and President NAN Detroit Chapter good afternoon.I would appreciate a phone call to possibly arrange for a meeting regarding asbestos related health problems.There are four th seven trust funds with over 30 Billion Dollars waiting to be distributed to those factory workers who worked for Ford Motor Compny,General Motors,Inc,and other factory facilities.THE LAW SUITS HAVE ALREADY BEEN SETTLED. Please call Mr.Ricky Rowan@Rowan Consulting: phone : 1 662 871 5475/ Ray Norman@ 1 734 664 1061 Best regards

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