DEQUINCY, LA (KPLC) - Evergreen Missionary Baptist Church in DeQuincy, Louisiana turns 100yrs old today. The motto for the event was, 100 years and still building on a solid foundation.
The church's current Pastor, Pastor James Harris wanted folks to know what Evergreen stands for, "Being a church that stands in the community, we are a church that stands for righteousness and we are a church where we operate where love rules".
In the 1800s slavery was still prevalent. However, later in that century, slavery was over and African Americans were free to migrate wherever those chose. At that time, a number of settlers decided on what's now known as DeQuincy to be their home.
In that time period, city, state and federal governments were not in the habit of offering anything of substance to blacks. This forced DeQuincy settlers to find their own place to worship and to find their own way to do other things. With that said, Evergreen Missionary Baptist Church was erected in 1911.
The church had gone through two world wars, the Great Depression and survived a fierce storm in 1918 along with a great fire in 1958. After the storm and fire (decades apart), the church had to be rebuilt.
Evergreen's history doesn't stop there. Since there were no schools for blacks to attend in the area and there was a thirst for church members to study the bible, reading and writing was of the utmost importance but where can people learn? The answer was to let Evergreen host the first school for blacks. That school started in 1918 and paved the way for future schools. Church member Brigitte Payne continues by listing those schools, "There was Rosenwald, The All Colored School and eventually there was Grant Avenue, the names have changed but the love in the village is still here".
Besides celebrating their Centennial, the Mayor of DeQuincy proclaimed today Evergreen Missionary Baptist Church Day. The Mayor and City Council, by way of resolution, renamed the street the church is currently on from Acme Drive to Evergreen Baptist Lane.
When asking Pastor Harris to share his secret of being able to financially weather the storms of economic issues, his answer was this, "In my some 20 years in the ministry, I've found this to be true, if you love the people and you treat the people right, and they feel cared for, the people will financially support the church".
Clearly a sentiment that has served well for Evergreen Missionary Baptist Church in DeQuincy, Louisiana over the last 100 years.