Pilgrim Baptist Church is the oldest black church in Minnesota. It was formed by slaves who came up the Mississippi River to Fort Snelling. They formed this church with the First Baptist in St. Paul. The church is still there on Grotto and West Central, and relatives of some of the original members are still there. The church still has an active congregation.
It’s been my church for 71 years. I taught Sunday school and worked on the usher board for 50 years. It’s been a harbor in a storm for the African-American community. The NAACP group started there and the Urban League and the Railroad Porters Union. Other Baptist churches have stemmed or branched off from Pilgrim Baptist Church. It’s been a spot for community activism. Our minister was the one who helped to get the freeway I-94 built under instead of over us. The church also helped save the Maxfield School on Victoria and St. Anthony in the 1950s.
~Marjorie Tendle, Minneapolis, MN