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New Everdale Baptist Church
*On this date, in 1925, the New Everdale Baptist Church was built. This is one of the oldest Black churches in Alabama.
Near Selma, Everdale does not have a mailbox or a telephone, yet it is filled with a tradition that is unmistakable. Before its construction, the original church and all its written records were destroyed by fire in the early 1920s. It is not known the age of the original building or how long Black people had worshipped in the first sanctuary. However, the Binfords, a white family, owned the first church building and land. Early Black Alabamians rented the church and the bordering land.
Currently listed on the Dallas County Homeland Security list, the New Everdale church still faces an undeveloped dirt road known as County Road 888. This church has been a strong force in rural communities since the early 1920s! The current congregation has fallen to approximately 30 local members. Presently, the Homecoming Service (held annually on the third Sunday of October) is Everdale’s largest fundraising event. Offspring of the original “pioneers” come from all over the United States to worship and communicate that same spirit of oneness shared by their ancestors at the Homecoming Service. Additionally, the church has Men's and Women's Day services, Ladies in Hats, and other holiday celebrations that attract large crowds.
This beautiful building, located in a rural area of Alabama, once gave the community's children their primary source of education when segregation barred Blacks from attending public schools. The church also provided the fundamental unit for the neighborhood, a sense of belonging, ownership, and esteem. Physically, the Everdale Baptist Church remains almost unchanged since its beginning.
The original design and historic fabric are in a good state of preservation. Much of the church building remains as it was when the doors opened in 1925. Set in a peaceful, picturesque landscape of old oak trees covered with Spanish moss, the setting, feeling, and location convey her celebrated significance. Everdale calls to mind this center of rural community and culture to the surrounding culture of African America.
From their first preacher, Reverend W.S. Rhone, to Reverend Fred Lee Shuttlesworth, to Reverend David Talton, the church serves a valued congregation of dedicated Blacks. Today, the New Everdale Baptist Church is a place for rekindling unions, redefining a purpose of oneness, and a deep-seated spiritual rejuvenation. This church is the last expression of the time when Black sharecroppers and farmers kept their hope alive and created a better life for their families in the rural, quiet and gentle area along River Road in Selma, Alabama.
Everdale Baptist Church can be found by taking the Cecil Jackson Bypass to Highway 140 (also called the River Road). Turn left and continue 10 miles until you see the church. Her presence draws you into a spiritual sanctuary of love, faith and courage passed down for many years.
Mary Dean Day Couch,
Granddaughter of H.D.Williams,
an original trustee of the church in 1925.