Tabernacle Baptist Church, Legacy Foundation holds rehabilitation groundbreaking ceremony

Published 10:08 am Friday, March 29, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...


Tabernacle Baptist Church and its Legacy Foundation held a rehabilitation groundbreaking for its $2 million project on Thursday.

Before the ceremony took place in the 102-year-old building, Tabernacle Baptist Pastor Dr. Otis D. Culliver led a program with greetings from several local and state government officials.

Email newsletter signup

Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. said the renovations were much-needed for the church famous for having the first Mass meeting during the Bridge Crossing Jubilee.

Selma City Councilwoman Jannie Thomas spoke on behalf of Council President Billy Young, who could not attend.  

“President Young said, ‘he prayed for many more years of Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church,” Thomas said. 

Rep. Prince Chestnut said a legacy lives in Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church that must last forever.

“It’s a culmination of history and legacy in Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church,” Chestnut said. “A dog must wag its own tail. We must wag our own tail.”

State Senator Robert Stewart said he is blessed to have grown up in Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church. 

“What better place to spend Holy Week than at Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church,” Stewart said. “Historic Preservation is crucial to economic development. We have to tell our own story and we have to own our own story.”

Bryon Evans, who represented U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, said its important to maintain and build more on Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church’s legacy. 

Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sheryl Smedley praised the work of Dr. Verdell Lett-Dawson, Chairman of the Historic Tabernacle Baptist Legacy Foundation. 

National Parks Service Grants Management Specialist Mary Shell, who served as the guest speaker, praised working with Dawson and the HIstoric Tabernacle Baptist.  Shell said Dawson provided a foundation to start with.

“The building is special, but the people make it special,” Shell said. “Tabernacle Baptist took the time to do things right. They used the best practices for others to follow. They spent the time to research the building and hire the right people.”

Dawson said it was all about doing the right to keep Historic Tabernacle Baptist church going for years to come.

The Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church Rehabilitation project is partially funded by the African American Civil Rights Program and the History of Equal Rights Program administered by the National Parks Service, Department of the Interior, and the Preserving Black Churches Program administered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

AG Gaston Construction Company was the Contractor. Lord Aeck Sargent Planning and Designing firm were the architects.