Laddie on Saving the First Baptist Church

venice beach. first baptist church

Laddie on the First Baptist Church

First Baptist Church 685-687 Westminster Ave Venice CA 90291 was founded in 1911 by African Americans who had come to Venice California for a better way of life.  They were running from the racist South ( lynchings, beatings, and the Klu Klux Klan) for a better way of life for their families. The pioneers of this church worked tirelessly to acquire this land, and they work six days a week from sun up to sun down with only Sunday as their day of rest. The parishioners created their  place of worship “First Baptist Church” for the Venice Community at 687 Westminster, they acquired 685 Westminster ten years later.

First Baptist church was the focal point of the neighborhood bringing the Negros together to pay homage to God and thank the Lord for giving them the strength and power to make it through the week.  Sunday being and all day event for the Black families Sunday school, worship at 11:00 AM, lunch and dinner, then the evening services at 6:00 PM.  First Baptist Church was the pride and joy of  Venice, and it brought the parishioners great acclaim for being the bright spot of this amazing gathering for the Negros.

We are asking that this invaluable church site be saved by our City Council person Mr. Mike Bonin and Mayor Eric Garcetti.  The Venice Neighborhood Council voted to allow the destruction of our beloved First Baptist Church, it came at the recommendation of the Land Use and Planning Board (constructed of many developers, architects and Chamber of Commerce representatives) who do not have the best interest of the Venice Community in their hearts.

First Baptist Church has its history deep in the Venice Community. Bishop E.L. Holmes was honored by Former Councilwoman Ruth Galanter (Plaque on the Westminster pole in front of the church) for all his tireless work in the Oakwood community.  First Baptist Church’s cultural heritage has to be preserved as a ‘sacred sight’ for the African American culture, and all of the wonderful people who would appreciate worshiping in this historical site.

First Baptist Church has its roots deeply invested in the Oakwood section of Venice all 108 years of it. The Black History of Venice demands its culture be preserved, the history of Venice (no matter what side of the street the church is on, our great Black Ancestors sacrificed and bought both 685 and 687 Westminster Ave Venice CA 90291) it is important for all who live and reside in this great community.

When you desecrate any place of worship, you eradicate the culture it was built upon.   First Baptist can be preserved and should be protected, so continued reverence can be paid to the African American founders  who came at a very tumultuous time for the Negro, and with great dignity, determination and personal drive created a wonderful church called ‘First Baptist Church of Venice California 90291’.


Standing Up and Showing Our Love For Venice
VC-PUCC, VNAC and the Venice Community!

Laddie Williams

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