Mt. Zion Baptist Church, a handsome redbrick late Victorian Gothic church, is home to one of Asheville's largest congregations of African Americans.
In 1919, the new pastor moved his congregation to the heart of the black commercial district.
The massive church bears a cornerstone reading, "Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Rebuilt 1919,
Reverend J.R. Nelson, Pastor," reflecting the building's long history and importance to the
On Nov. 15, Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church commemorated 139 years of Christian service
to the community. Through the most turbulent years of post-Civil War history, this church has stood as a leader in African-American advancement in Western North Carolina.
A diversified citizenry molded an alert, aggressive church of Professionals, skilled and semi-skilled men and women, laborers and domestics came. The druggists, merchants, school administrators and teachers, insurance agents, beauticians and barbers, cafe operators and other small business owners contributed to the rapid economic growth of the church.
Black veterans who had returned from World War I, and fought in a far less segregated Europe, found America still racist and unequal.
The church debt was heavy and the Great Depression loomed near, but the membership was great and they joined their finances and paid the church's bills. To deal with the ever-increasing membership and in order to effectively minister to all members.