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Lost Ripley – Miles Chapel

3 Sep

I first featured Miles Chapel on this site under a header titled “If Walls Could Talk”. It was my way of calling attention to important African American sites in Lauderdale County. It is with great sadness that I now write about Miles Chapel and refer to it as Lost Ripley, which is my way of letting people know about African American institutions in Ripley that are no longer standing. Last April I discussed with one of my professors my idea of adding Miles Chapel to the National Register of Historic Places and he was all for it. The church as well agreed that they would like to have it added. It would have been the fourth site in Lauderdale County to be added. This past August my professor and I were headed to Ripley to start the process of having the church added to the National Register. Unfortunately, due to a mold problem the existing chapel will be demolished. Thankfully, they do have plans to rebuild.

As someone who studies African American spaces I consider the demolition of the building as a great loss, but of course I hate to see any old structure torn down.

 

Miles Chapel (2013)

                                                        Miles Chapel (2013)

 

You can revisit Miles Chapel’s first appearance on the website here -> If Walls Could Talk – Miles Chapel

– Tiffany

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If Walls Could Talk: Morning Star Baptist Church

6 Oct

“In the year 1914, a faithful group of about seventy assembled themselves together on Russell Lane, using Sister Maggie Russell Burns’ lot as a place of worship, under the leadership of the late Rev. G.L. Harris, the organizer” – Lauderdale County From its Earliest Times by Kate Johnston Peters (p 89).

Morning Star Baptist Church received its name from Frank Williams who also served as an officer of the church. Deacons of the church included, Frank Reed, Clarence Rucker, Abe Partee, George Roll and Frank Williams. Pastors of the church included Rev. G.L. Harris, Rev. M.L. Young, Rev. Anderson, Rev. J.W. Lee, Rev. R.L. Reed, Rev. G.W. Tyus, John Maclin, Sol Huddelston, and Robert Washington. By 1955 the church was under the leadership of Rev. J.R. Halliburton.

In 1916 the church relocated from Russell Lane to a lot on what was known at the time as School Street which they purchased for $75.00. Church members and friends worked together to clear the lot and dig the basement of the church which they used for worship services. Sanborn Maps also reveal that the Morning Star Church building was also used as an annex for the Lauderdale County Training School.

Records indicate that School Street was renamed Handsome Street and was then renamed Spring Street, which it is still known as today. Today, Morning Star Baptist Church can be found on Scott Drive, not too far from its previous location on Spring Street.

In the 1980’s Mother Goose Daycare could be found in a building behind Morning Star Baptist Church.

Do any of you all have memories of attending Morning Star Baptist Church? Do any of you all currently attend there?

– Tiffany

– Source: Lauderdale County from its Earliest Times by Kate Johnston Peters, Google Maps