Another Historic Black Church Gone: DC’s Alexander Memorial Baptist Sold For $6.5M

July 28, 2014  |  

Another historic Black church is being sold, this time in the Georgetown section of Washington DC. Over the years, the 106-year-old Alexander Memorial Baptist Church has seen its congregation shrink and it is for this reason the pastor says the building will be sold to a developer for $6.5 million. In May, Atlanta’s oldest Black church, Friendship Baptist Church sold its building  for $19.5 million to make room for the new Atlanta Falcons stadium. Condominiums or townhouses are expected to be built on the site of Alexander Memorial.

It is reported that Reverend Jesse Plater, who has been the pastor at Alexander Memorial for the last eight years, is looking for a school auditorium to hold services temporarily. This has left some churchgoers dismayed.

“So, if we don’t have a place to go, why are you still selling the church?” member Alfred May asked WJLA-ABC News. “Don’t sell this church because you can’t maintain a congregation,” May said. “Someone else can. Another pastor can come in and draw the people.”

They are also complaining that the pastor sold the building for less than it’s worth. Homes in Georgetown sell for at least $1 million, so some say the AMBC lots and buildings should have gone for more.

“I guess he thinks $6 million is a lot of money, but if you gonna get another church … build another church, that’s no money,” said another church member.

According to the church’s website: “The formation of the Alexander Memorial Baptist Church began on July 26, 1908, with a group of worshippers from the First Baptist Church of Georgetown…They named the church after the Reverend Sandy Alexander, the founder of First Baptist. In 1909, the church purchased property located in the Georgetown Section (2709–2717 N Street) of Washington, DC and constructed a church building. The cornerstone was laid later that year. Rev. Carroll served as the minister until his resignation in 1914.”

Other Black churches in Washington, DC, have been bought and turned into condominiums as well, such as Faith Baptist Church on Capitol Hill and Mt. Joy Baptist Church.

Do you think the pastor is wrong in this case?

And for more about the money involved in the black church, check out the new Moguldom Studios documentary “Black Church Inc.” available on iTunes and Google Play. Watch the trailer here. Buy your copy today!

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