We had an organist here whose name was Abraham Bibb, and he spoke to my mamma, and he said, “Ms. Posey, I would like to give Dorothy organ lessons.” When I retired in ’93, after 48 consecutive years the organ was designated as the Dorothy Posey Jones Organ of First Baptist Church, because I had played it for 48 years.
In 1866, this church grew out of the white First Baptist Church, where they attended service with the white congregation, but they were in the basement of the church or they were in the balcony. And they bought the land on Columbus Street to build their own church.
My grandfather and my father brought bricks to build this edifice that was completed in 1915. The Pastor, Andrew Jackson Stokes, had told the congregation if they pass along the streets and you see a brick, pick it up and bring it to church. The north side is completed with new bricks, and the south side is completed with bricks that were brought by members of this congregation.
Back in those years, there were killings and lynchings, and a lot of black people found a sanctuary here in this building in the tower of this church. They hid them there until they could get them out of town.
I remember this church being full of members from the front to the back. And I remember
Holy Communion was only celebrated at night, and that happened until the church was bombed. Nobody was here that night, and the bomb blew out everything in the basement of this church.
None of the windows were shattered by that huge bomb that went off on that day.
Rev. Abernathy was Pastor at that time. We met here that morning, and the church was packed. Ralph talked to us, and we prayed, and we gave thanks, and said that we should rise, we will overcome this. And it was a joyous time even though it was devastating to know the church had been attacked like that. When the church was bombed, Ralph went all over the United States and people gave money to get this church renovated.
The church was very, very cooperative with the Movement, they were very cooperative with what was being done. When they had the confrontation at the bus station that was the night that the riders came in and were housed in the church. My husband and I were at home and we watched the television, and we saw the howling mob and saw the cars on fire. We were frightened because Martin was there. Ralph and Martin were down in the office and they would come up and tell them of how things were moving. That was when they had contacted Bobby Kennedy to get help for those who were here in this church that night.
The Movement made you a better person. Dr. King spoke of nonviolence and that’s the key word, and if you would use other methods of solving your problems. You learned from the movement how to really handle yourself and how to handle others. It was a story that showed you how to be kind and loving and thoughtful.