Nestled in the predominantly African-American Dunbar neighborhood of San Marcos, the First Baptist Church served as more than just a place of worship.
“There were biracial meals they would have together, weddings, they would have graduation ceremonies,” said Ramika Adams, board member of Calaboose African-American History Museum.
It was a staple in San Marcos, but in 1873 it was burned down by the Ku Klux Klan.
“They were searching for a gentleman they thought was in the building, so they just burned the building down. It took the congregation more than 30 years to rebuild it and when they did they built it bigger than it was before, three or four times bigger than it was before,” said Adams.
This current building that sits on MLK is the same one the congregation rebuilt in 1908, although it still stands, it needs some attention. That's why the Main Street program of San Marcos along with the Calaboose Museum applied for a grant of $150,000 to restore the church. San Marcos won the grant, and Monday evening, stakeholders are gathering for a proclamation celebration.
“Tonight is the next level because not only does the grant give the $150,000 to start renovations, but it also opens up more funding opportunities,” said Adams.
The rebuilding of the church serves as a reminder of what a community can do, when racial barriers are removed.
“At some point racism has to end and in order to do that we have to talk about it, we have to acknowledge it. I feel the restoration of this building has started that,” said Adams.