Friendship Baptist Church, which had moved into their new home at 3411 West Douglas Boulevard, the former Anshe Kenesseth Israel synagogue designed in 1913 by the architectural firm of Aroner and Somers. It was one of the few churches to welcome Dr. King. Most black ministers had willingly aligned themselves with Daley's all-powerful political machine. According to the book, Black Churches and Local Politics, "With the silent opposition of Daley-backed ministers and the sanctions that Daley had at his disposal to punish activist clergy, church-based resources were ineffective in mobilizing Chicago blacks. " The book quotes one of those ministers who dared to defy Daley, Reverend Clay Evans of the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, "Many ministers who were with us had to back off because they didn't want their buildings to be condemned or given citations for electrical work, faulty plumbing, or fire code violations." Reverend Dr. Shelvin Jerome Hall, the long-time pastor of New Friendship Baptist, was one of the few who stood up to power, opening up his church to King.
declared the historic structure on Douglas Boulevard - vacant and deteriorating for several years - "in imminent danger of collapse" and the Law Department has issued an emergency demolition order. Activists have begun a petition drive to stay the demolition. Last week, Lee Bey created this post about the church, with great photographs. Preservation Chicago listed the building as one of its 2011 Seven Most Endangered, and you can find their report, from which the above pair of photographs was taken, here.
Modern Struggles, Modern Design, Dr. King and the story of Liberty Baptist Church.