Mount Zion First African Baptist Church

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Exterior view of Mount Zion First African Baptist Church. Reproduced from Visit Charlottesville.

The Mount Zion First African Baptist Church was founded in 1867. In 1863 eight hundred African-American parishioners of the Charlottesville Baptist Church petitioned to establish their own church. As a result, the Delevan Baptist Church was formed in 1864. At the time of its founding, it was mandatory that black congregations be presided over by a white minister. Some of the members remained disgruntled over that mandate. In 1867 they separated from the Delevan Baptist Church, and established the Mount Zion First African Baptist Church. The Rev. Spotswood Jones was their founding pastor, making him the first African-American pastor in the city of Charlottesville. [1]

According to a 1906 issue of the Daily Progress, the Reverend John Seay was ordained a minister in the Baptist Church at an Ordaining Council held at Mount Zion on May 30, 1906. Seay, the author of the church hymn "City of Refuge," was later called to take charge of a Baptist church in Albemarle County.

Mary Truehart Woodfolk was heavily involved in the activities of the church during her lifetime, serving as an honorary member of the Missionary Circle and as a member of the Senior Choir. She also enrolled her children in Sunday School and the church choir.

Horace Carter Miller Sr. was buried in the church's cemetery following his death in 1982.

In 2003, the church moved from 105 Ridge Street to its new and current location at 105 Lankford Avenue.[2]



Mount Zion First African Baptist Church
105 Lankford Avenue
Charlottesville, VA 22902


Coordinates:Erioll world.svg.png 38°01′55″N 78°29′56″E / 38.031994°N -78.498819°W / 38.031994; --78.498819


  1. Web. Our History, retrieved June 5, 2023.
  2. Web. [ Urban renewal and the end of black culture in Charlottesville, Virginia: an oral history of Vinegar Hill], Dorothy West, James Robert Saunders, Renae Nadine Shackelford, McFarland, 1998, retrieved December 29, 2010.

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