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Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church (copy)

Mount Pisgah Baptist Church is located on Green Street and became the first organized black church in Orangeburg after the Civil War in 1865. It is considered to be the “mother” of all of the black Baptist churches in Orangeburg.

Mount Pisgah Baptist Church was the first organized black church in Orangeburg.

There are conflicting views on the origin of the church, but it is believed by church members that the congregation had its origin in 1853 or 1854, banding together, even though they were slaves, to serve God.

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The church was officially organized after the emancipation of slaves in 1865 when a small number of black members belonging to First Baptist Church withdrew to organize their own church.

The original name was Sunnyside Baptist Church and the Rev. Jacob Govan, a Branchville resident, served as pastor from 1865 to 1877. Sunnyside Baptist changed its name to Mount Pisgah Baptist Church in 1870.

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The original structure was destroyed by fire in 1902. The following year, the congregation rebuilt the church. A.W. Thorne, a black builder, constructed the new larger and more functional facility. The building was constructed in an early 20th-century Romanesque Revival style, and its brick construction and sophisticated design are seen as evidence of the dedication of its congregation during a period when few African-Americans made more than a basic living.

The pyramid with cross-gable design of the church, as well as its fenestration detail and interior features, make Mount Pisgah an important example of turn-of-the-century religious architecture in Orangeburg.

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It is one of the oldest churches in both Orangeburg and South Carolina. In fact, Mount Pisgah is considered the mother of the black Baptist churches in Orangeburg and has the distinction of being the first black church ever in Orangeburg.

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Mount Pisgah was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

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