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Central Congregational Church 1872-2005 / Celebrating Central Church's Legacy
Central Congregational Church 1872-2005
Central Congregational Church of New Orleans was organized by Rev. Charles H. Thompson, a theology professor at Straight College and thirty-two incorporators on June 30, 1872. It was the result of the work of the American Missionary Assn (AMA), a main agency for Congregational activism with abolitionists. Led by Christian faith, the AMA addressed the needs of freed slaves through education, monetary assistance & financial literacy by instituting churches & schools including Straight College & Central Church. Persistent in promoting education, Central housed the first Colored Day Nursery in 1911. Central's members played significant roles in the community. Designed by black architect Ferdinand Rousseve, the current edifice dedicated Nov. 18. 1945, was constructed of materials salvaged from the demolished Straight College. The Memorial Bell, the only relic of Central's first home, was placed on the front lawn at 2401 Bienville Ave. in recognition of the original members. The mission-based involvement in education, civil rights, social service & spiritual growth through Central Congregational Church has been firmly woven into the world-wide fabric of life.
Celebrating Central Church's Legacy The sanctuary when located on Liberty Street was the largest, meeting place in the city opened without distinction of race. Regularly, the church hosted commencements, conventions, grand lodge meetings, recitals, and lectures. It was the only place in the city where the racially diverse meeting of the Southern Sociological Congress could be held in 1921. Founders: Sarah Blunt, Clara Boyer, Betsy Cole, Frances Dunn, Lettice Dunn, Joseph Ebb, Priscilla Higdon, Thomas E. Hillson, Phillis Hopkins, Cornelia Hutchinson, Harriet Hutchinson, Henrietta Ingraham, Robert H. Isabelle, Susan Jones, Mary Jordan, Jane Kimball, Elizabeth Lewis, Martha Lewis, Charlotte Mitchell, Lucy Ebb Morton, Jacob A. Norager, Mary Norager, Sophie Paul, Mary Jane Quinn, Elizabeth E. Rose. Merinda Saunders, Elizabeth Thompson, Mary Waits. Harriet Williams, Isaac Wilson, Adolph Zemar, and Lavinia Zemar. OSPB schools named for Central members: Florence E. Chester. Mary D. Coghill, Lawrence D. Crocker, Henderson H. Dunn, L.B. Landry, Alfred Lawless, James Lewis, and Fannie C. Williams. Dillard University a buildings named for Central members: Cook Performing Arts Center, A.W. Dent Hall, F.C. Williams Hall.