14 West Duval Street
The Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church is significant as the most visible reminder of one of Richmond’s leading African-American preachers and world famous orator, the Reverend John Jasper.
Founded in 1867 by Jasper and ten close associates, the congregation was housed initially in an abandoned horse stable on Brown’s Island in the James River. Two years later, the congregation purchased for just over $2,000 a parcel of land on Duval Street in the area that came to be known as Jackson Ward. As the first church in the Richmond community organized by an African American, the core of the present church building was erected in 1885 by George Boyd.
Boyd is one of the few confirmed African-American builders with a documented association with specific buildings in 19th-century Richmond, most notably the Maggie L. Walker House at 110 East Leigh Street. Charles T. Russell, the first African-American architect to maintain an architectural practice in Virginia, and builder I. Lincoln Bailey, were responsible for the extensive remodelling of the edifice in 1925, a building campaign that resulted in the Gothic Revival style that defines the church building today.
The Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church consists of two distinct architectural components – 1 the original or Jasper/Boyd Sanctuary constructed in 1887 and (2) the Russell/Bailey expansion of 1925. In addition, there were interim modifications made to the building between 1901 and 1924.
The original sanctuary was commissioned in 1887 during the tenure of the founding pastor, the Reverend John Jasper, and built by the African-American builder, George Boyd. Photographs of the building prior to 1925 indicate that the original building was far different from how it appears today.’ The 1887 Jasper/Boyd structure was a modest Norman Gothic building. This sanctuary consisted of the core of the present sanctuary with a different front facade and exterior treatment. Specifically, it consisted of a simple -building on a raised basement with a crenelated bell tower centrally placed on the front facade of the building. Wooden or pressed metal finials decorated the corners of the tower and the building.
It is not certain what type of windows were present at the time of construction in 1887. Church tradition has it that the congregation installed the present art and stained glass windows after the death of John Jasper in 1901 under the direction of Dr. Randolph V. Peyton, who succeeded Jasper, between 1901 and 1924. (VDHR)
Much more can be said about the career of Reverend Jasper, noted orator and skeptic of heliocentrism – territory ably covered by the HistoryReplaysToday podcast.
(Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church is part of the Atlas RVA Project)
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Businesses Unite to Bring Change to Monument Avenue
“We believe inclusion is integral to the strength of our organizations, and that symbols antithetical to equality, equity, and unity harm our employees and community.”
The Monument Commitment is a pledge by Richmond employers to work for change not only along Monument Avenue but in the community.
RVAHub is proud to stand with the businesses below.
If you would like to learn how to add your organization to this commitment email: [email protected]
The pledge reads:
Governor Northam, Mayor Stoney, City Council Members:
We are employers of the Richmond community.
We believe inclusion is integral to the strength of our organizations, and that symbols antithetical to equality, equity, and unity harm our employees and community.
We ask that you commit to support the respectful removal of all the confederate monuments on Monument Avenue in coming months, and do not repair – other than for public safety – the monuments as they currently stand.
For our part, we commit to confronting racism in our organizations and supporting you in eradicating systemic racism in our community.
It is time to take them all down.
Please note we created this post on Friday morning and since businesses are being added constantly some businesses might not be on the list above. This is not a statement against those businesses just an inability to keep up. This link will give you the most current list of those that have made the commitment.
Wayback RVA — Old Pythian Hall and Mechanics Savings Bank
A Then & Now photo essay of Richmond places from around the area.
The Old Pythian Hall and Mechanics
Savings Bank, Mr. Jno. Mitchell Jr., Pres.
- Souvenir Views Negro Enterprises and Residences, Richmond, Va. D. A. Ferguson & Co. 1907.
- Richmond Planet masthead.
- Logo, Order of the Knights of Pythias.
- Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Richmond (1905) — Plate 3.
- [RTD] John Mitchell Jr. Richmond Times-Dispatch. Michael Paul Williams February 21, 1996.
- 311 North Fourth Street.
John Mitchell Jr. was aptly described as “a man who would walk into the jaws of death to serve his race.” Mitchell – newspaper editor, entrepreneur, city councilman and candidate for governor – was one of the most respected black leaders of his day. [RTD]
A fascinating individual. The Shockoe Examiner has an interesting post from 2012 about Mitchell’s grave in Evergreen Cemetery. Alas for the old bank building, it’s former location now rests under the Richmond Convention Center.
(Old Pythian Hall and Mechanics Savings Bank is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)
Black Bear’s Visit to Richmond Comes to a Safe End
No picnic baskets, bears, dogs, cats, or humans were harmed in today’s adventure.
A black bear decided to explore Richmond today. First spotted on the Northbank Trail he later headed into town. Previous reports earlier in the week had the bear up near Pony Pasture. The picture above is from RACC Instagram which reported on the sedation and transportation of the bear.
We just received a call about a bear-and it really was a bear. Sometimes we laugh and arrive on scene with a giant Rottweiler, but nope-this was a real bear. We named him Fuzzy Wuzzy. Shout out to @richmondpolice for helping keep us safe and to @virginiawildlife for tranquilizing and relocating the bear out of the City!
Here he is in town.