Early Powder Springs Black Churches and Schools

This historical information was compiled by Sarah Frances Miller in the 70’s & 80’s and is available in our Powder Springs History binder located in the library room in the museum. You can also visit our Black History displays (pictured) and purchase a copy of “Powder Springs Has Some Deep Roots In It” – An Oral History Portrait of an African American Community by Ann McCleary, Catherine Henricks, and Stephanie Wright.

“For far as we can ascertain there have been two black Methodist churches in Powder Springs – Kite’s Chapel and Davis Chapel. Kite’s Chapel was located on what is now Butler Street, almost on the same site where Ruthie White’s house now stands. It was blown down by a wind storm around 40 years ago. The Reverend Hamilton was one of the pastors of Kite’s Chapel.

Davis Chapel was located on Macland Road near the overhead bridge next door to the home of Andy and Laura Davis. Going from Powder Springs to Macland it was on the left hand side of the road. The Reverend Morgan was one of the pastors of this church. According to the minutes of the Powder Springs City Council, May 1935, the church was ordered to discontinue holding meetings because the residents of the area objected to the noise and the disturbance. The following appeared in the minutes of the city council on May 5, 1940. “Motion passed that the black church by the Seaboard bridge be and is hereby condemned as a fire trap. Notice of the same to be posted for thirty days.”

The black Baptist church located on Brownsville Road is the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. After the Civil War, in 1867, the blacks, in search of their own religious life, separated from the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. They worshiped for three years under a brush arbor. The Reverend Seaborn Rucker was their first pastor. A church site was obtained and a donation of a barn was made to them by the Pleasant Hill Church. A plank church was built. Reverend Barber was there for many years in the plank church. During the pastorate of the Rev. R. H. Williams, this old building was torn down and a new structure was erected. The Rev. W. A. Bowen followed by Rev. Williams as pastor and under his leadership, heat and water were put in the building, and the building was brick veneered. Pews, pulpit furniture and two pianos were purchased. The next pastor was the Rev. J. C. Carter. It was during his pastorate that the church was completely remodeled, and the cornerstone was laid October 6, 1974. The New Hope Cemetery is adjacent to the church.

Two Broadnax brothers gave land for the Macedonia Baptist Church located on Macedonia Road. The church was founded about 1896. Early members were the Broadnax, Wyatt and Stiles families. Pastors include Rev. I. P. Ward, Rev. Alexander Penn, Rev. Calvin and presently Rev. Lennie Gunn. Annie Wolf has written a history of the church which is in its second building.

Rev. Sandy Young lived in Powder Springs. He had a barber shop in downtown Powder Springs for a long time. He and his wife, Hattie Turner, and their eighteen children raised cotton on a farm where Florence Estates begins. He served Methodist churches, Prodigal and Cavalry.

Rev. Alexander Penn served many Baptist churches in the area. He was at Mt. Zion Baptist on Brownsville Road for a long time. He served Big Bethel on Marietta Road, Sweet Home in Hiram and Macedonia in Powder Springs. He was moderator of the Friendship Association which includes New Hope Church in Powder Springs. His wife was Bunch and they had sixteen children.

A more recently established church is the black Church of God In Christ, which was located on Long Street in Powder Springs. This church was built in 1954. The building was made possible largely through the efforts of Ethel Clark. The late Bishop James J. Hensley was in charge of the dedication service on July 18, 1954. The first pastor was Elder Arthur Jones, Sr. Some of the first members were: Ethel Clark, Annie Mae Kimball, Gracie Young, Essie Clark, and Jake Marshall. Ethel Clark was the church secretary.

The first black school that anyone in the community seems to remember was a two story building that was located across the railroad about where the Happy Valley Trailer Court is now located. Students who attended the school say that it stood across from what was then the Jim Florence place. One of the long time principals was Mr. C. D. Evans. Mr. Evans’s wife was his assistant teacher. The Mizelles, the Waldons, the Weddingtons, the Holcombs, and most of the black children in the community attended this school. When this building fell into bad repair the school was moved to a new site on Brownsville Road adjacent to the New Hope Church and cemetery. Later this school became an elementary school, and the county had an arrangement with the Marietta School Board for the Powder Springs black high school students to attend Lemon Street High School in Marietta. The school by the church and the arrangement with Marietta lasted until Cobb County Schools were desegregated and all of the children attended the same schools. The black school building by the church was sold and made into a dwelling which still stands.

Some of the early teachers were S. S. Broadnax, Samuel S. Young, and James M. McAfee. They taught in the 1890’s.”

More photos from New Hope Missionary Baptist Church