Providence Baptist Church
The first African Americans to this area were brought by settlers Mabel Gilbert and family in the 1850s. By the 1920s, a 3-mile square portion of the original township of Burkburnett was settled by African Americans and was known as "The Colored Community," Within its boundaries there existed a school, a cemetery, and five churches of various denominations. In 1922, the Rev. T. M. Moore founded Providence Baptist Church, which moved to the corner of 6th and Floyd streets on a parcel of land gifted out of the Lela Harwell Estate. A few years later, the members constructed a one-room frame building for worship. Under the early tenure of the Rev. T. L. Longmiles, who served the church from 1948-1981, this building was demolished and rebuilt. The Rev. Longmiles also focused on Christian education for both youth and adults. Another early leader, the Rev. Wade Johnson, assisted in the organization of the first local public school for African American children in addition to his church duties.
Since its beginning, the Providence Baptist Church prioritized service to the community. In the 1960s, the church supported area anti-poverty efforts stemming from the Federal Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. In the 1970s, Providence was the sole surviving church in the African American community, and hosted many meetings and programs.
In 1972, with the financial support of the First Baptist Church of Burkburnett on land purchased from a local citizen, the church built a new worship center on the corner of 7th and Floyd streets. For more than a century, Providence Baptist Church has provided a guide post of service and education for area residents.
Marker is property of the State of Texas.
612 Floyd Street, Burkburnett, Texas.
34-degrees 06' 00" N, 98-degrees 34' 40" W.