Now in the shadow of the skyscrapers that sprang up around it, this church was founded in 1866 by nine freed slaves. In 1868, one of Antioch’s members, Jack Yates, was ordained at the first Association meeting for African American Baptist Churches. This meeting was the first National Baptist Convention.
Rev. Jack Yates became the first pastor of Antioch and he was instrumental in establishing the church at its present location. The church, located in the center of Freedman’s Town, was the center of activity for the African-American community. It was the first brick structure built and owned by African-Americans in Houston.
The Red Brick Church was designed by African-American Richard Allen. The building was erected in 1875 and it was the first brick structure owned by African-Americans in Houston, Texas. The church features stained glass windows with portraits of prominent church figures.The original handmade pews are still used in the sanctuary.
Be sure to notice the neon “Jesus Saves” sign on the steeple.
Antioch Missionary Baptist Church
500 Clay at Smith
Open for services.
No admission charge.
Directions: Enter downtown via Louisiana or Travis. Turn left on Clay, and the church is just past Smith Street. Parking is available on the street or in nearby lots and garages (e.g., Allen Center).