Historic 1922 Photo of National Baptist Memorial Church’s Corner Stone Ceremony

On April 23rd, I posted an account of the ground breaking ceremony for the National Baptist Memorial Church on 16th Street that happened to occur on the same date in 1921. Surprisingly, I’ve just found a related photo to the construction of the church … showing the April 22, 1922 corner stone ceremony. You can see that photo below.

SCAN0125(Photo from author’s collection)

The following description of the event is a portion of an article published in The Sunday Star on April 23rd:

Before a gathering of several hundred persons attending the ceremonies yesterday afternoon incident to the laying of the corner stone of the national Baptist memorial to Roger Williams and religious liberty, at 16th Street and Columbia road, Charles E. Hughes, Secretary of State, the principal speaker, paid a glowing tribute to “the pioneer who first in American, erected the standard of religious freedom.”

“Religious liberty is distinctly an American doctrine, for here the principle first found effective expression in government institutions,” the Secretary said.

The memorial, in course of construction, Secretary Hughes declared, was “at once a tribute and a pledge. It is a tribute in this capital, where the services and ideals of those who founded and preserved the Union are fittingly memorialized, to one of their great forerunners — Roger Williams. It is also a tribute to that earnest group of believers who, amid scorn and persecution, were steadfast to their distinctive tenet which was to become the vital principle of our free institutions. It is also a pledge that this principle shall be held inviolate.”

The article continues with a recount of Hughes honoring Anabaptists, a listing of the the notable religious men and women in attendance, and a description of the articles placed in the corner stone box.

Below are two additional photos of the same event that I found in the Library of Congress collection.

Hughes cornerstone 1

Hughes cornerstone 2

Explore posts in the same categories: Architecture, Celebrations, History

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