BNHA Union Baptist Church


Baltimore City Landmark

National Register of Historic Places

Interpretive Framework

Gaining Freedom for All: African American Heritage and the Struggle for Equality

Shaping a Monumental City: The City’s Growth in the 20th Century

Star Attractions

Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail

Resource Type

Points of Interest

1219 Druid Hill Ave

Baltimore, Maryland 21217

By 1860 the African American community thrived on the foundation of more than 16 churches and missions throughout Baltimore. By 1900, more than 12 African American churches resided in Old West Baltimore alone. They helped give birth to and nurture almost every civic institution in the community: Provident Hospital, the YMCA and YWCA, the DuBois Circle, the Baltimore Chapter of the Niagara Movement, Morgan College, and many more. Within the walls of these churches, a sense of security hovered that eclipsed Baltimore’s often racist society.

The Union Baptist Church started in 1852 and moved to Druid Hill Avenue in 1905. The church, especially under the leadership of Dr. Harvey Johnson, led many civil rights initiatives including the creation of the Mutual Brotherhood of Liberty and the founding of the Niagara Movement and the Baltimore Branch of the NAACP. During the 1960s, mostly under the direction of Dr. Vernon Dobson, Union Baptist Church became a meeting place for many civil rights activities including Baltimore’s participation in the 1963 March on Washington.