Celebrating Black History Month – Part 2
By Cris Cawthon—
Sundays, Always A Time Of Worship
Centralia has eight active black churches that are located on several corners of town. During my childhood, my step-grandfather Elder Willie Hines and grandmother Opal Wallace-Hines presided over a church in the northeast part of town. At the time it was called Pentecostal Church of God in Christ located on Cormick Street. The church building has relocated to 114 N. Hickory Street under the name New Beginnings Church of God in Christ. Sundays were always a time of worship and a family dinner followed the service.
• Dating back to 1864, Ricks Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was started by Mrs. Harriet Ricks and her husband Rev. Nelson Ricks. It is said that services were convened in private homes until 1910 when an actual building was erected. Rev. Val Powe is the current preacher and the location is at 438 N. Poplar.
• Second Missionary Baptist Church started in 1869 under Rev. Robert Williams, Sr. The site was donated by Col. George L. Pittenger. Services were held in a small one-room building. In 1917 a larger frame structure was built. It is noted that Ms. Laura Leake turned the first spade in the dirt while Martha Bibb (my great-great-great aunt), held an umbrella over her head. Pastor Isaac Parker is the current preacher and the location is at 512 Haussler Street.
• New Covenant Ministries, located at 620 E. Rexford, is led by Bishop Henry Dabney.
• New Bethel Baptist Church, located at 501 N. Sycamore, is led by Rev. Ron Johnson.
• New Beginnings Church of God in Christ, located at 114 N. Hickory, is led by Elder Lucien Dreux.
• Macedonia Full Gospel Baptist Church, located at 1220 Marion Street, is led by Bishop Robert Jones.
• House of Worship Church, located at 601 E. Calumet St., is led by District Elder Allen E. Rudd, Sr.
• Bible Based Community Church, located at 124 N. Pine St., is led by Pastor Johnnie Wilson.
Local Black History
Many people may not be aware of the black history in our own community. We have street signs named after notable blacks: Martin Luther King Drive (McCord), Bobby Jo Mason Way (Howard Street), and Willie Lawson Way (Rhodes Avenue).
There is also a park in the north part of town, Laura Leake Memorial Park, in which many summer events are held to bring the community together.
Years ago there were many black owned businesses. Today there are just a few, which include: Untouchable Detailing and Car Wash, The Ugly Bucket, Go Gurl Beauty Supply, Jackie G’s Barber Shop, and Driscoll’s Boxing Academy.
I want to share a Maya Angelou quote, “When you know better you do better.”