History: The history of First Baptist Church-West can be traced back to the year 1867 when a group of recently freed slaves assigned to worship in the balcony of predominately white First Baptist Church of Charlotte gathered under an oak tree on the church grounds to discuss their future in Christianity. Shortly afterwards, they requested and were granted letters of dismissal from the "Mother Church" to form a church of their own. With about 60 members, the First Baptist Church (for Negroes) was formally organized in 1868. By 1870, the congregation had purchased a plot of land at 1020 South Church Street and starting planning for their first brick edifice. After years of struggle with limited resources, construction began in 1901. The church men did most of the manual labor after leaving their day jobs, the women and children brought food and held lanterns as they worked into the night. After ten long and arduous years, the church was finally completed. It was dedicated in September 1911. Considered to be the hub of the Third Ward community, this building was to be the home of First Baptist Church until it fell victim to urban renewal and was razed during the 1970's. Meanwhile, the members looked westward for a new site and launched a full-scale building project. The church was relocated to its present location at 1801 Oaklawn Avenue and dedication services were held in May 1977. In the years following, the word "West" was added to the churchs name. In 1986--nine years after dedicating the new building--the First Baptist Church-West family celebrated the Mortgage Burning. This movement and rebirth in the history of the church occurred during the able and devoted leadership of Dr. James Bradford Humphrey, Jr. Following his retirement and subsequent death in 1993, we were blessed to have in place the devout Associate Minister, Dr. Herman E. Thomas, to shepherd the flock and allow time for an extended search for a new Senior Minister.