Progress in Restoring Former Galilee Baptist Church for Shreveport Civil Rights Museum | national news

SHREVEPORT, La.–There is an effort to open a civil rights museum in Shreveport on the site of a historic church with a past tied to the civil rights movement.

The struggle for freedom in the South is tied to several events in Shreveport.

This story prompted some groups to push for a project that would honor the sacrifices of others and leave a legacy for the future.

The new museum will be the first in northern Louisiana and will add Shreveport to a list of southern cities that have also opened similar museums commemorating the history of racism and civil rights activism in the south.

The work to save the Missionary Baptist Church of Galilee, or “Old Galilee,” began decades ago. The building’s history as a hub of activism makes it the perfect place to reflect on Shreveport’s past.

“Many of us are able to hold leadership positions throughout this city because of the sacrifices made by the people who have come through the gates of Galilee,” Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins said, noting the progress made to restore the 145 years. -Old building.

The church, built in 1877 by freed black slaves, served as a place of refuge and planning during the civil rights movement.

Civil rights activist Reverend Asriel McClain says it’s important to remember the important role Shreveport played in starting the civil rights movement. He said Old Galilee had been home to icons like the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

“There were only three churches Dr. King visited in his lifetime in Shreveport; Little Union, this church in Galilee, and Evergreen,” McClain said.

Those who want to upgrade the church have made progress in restoring it, but city leaders and project architects say more funding is needed to preserve this part of Shreveport’s history and make it a lasting landmark.

So far, $1.5 million has been spent to restore the church. Experts estimate that several million additional dollars will be needed to complete the project.

“The contractor reported today what he had already spent. It’s just a drop in the ocean,” said Pastor Calvin H. Austin.

The civil rights leader led a student-led protest at Booker T. Washington High School the day after the beating of the late Reverend Harry Blake, another prominent activist, at Little Union Baptist Church in September 1963.

Thursday’s Celebration of Progress fell on the 59the anniversary of this event. Today, Austin urges the community to help preserve a piece of history.

“It’s not about a large group of people wanting this to happen. I hope it’s about everyone in and around Shreveport wanting this to happen.”

To donate to the preservation of the Galilee Baptist Church and the opening of the Civil Rights Museum, contact the North Louisiana Civil Rights Coalition.

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