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From Southern Mission to Selma RPC

02. February 2008

Columns, Congregation of the Month,


With MLK day close at hand, and with Selma in theaters today, we thought our readers might be interested in these articles from our archives.

Selma RPC

Location: Selma, Ala.

Presbytery: Great Lakes–Gulf

Organized: May 21, 1875

Membership: 40

Pastor: Thomas Gray

The Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America began its mission work in the South during the Civil War. It had been against slavery for a long time, and was active in the Underground Railroad (Glasgow’s History, 80).

The work of evangelizing and educating blacks focused on Alabama when the Covenanter Board of Missions chose Selma as the center of its southern ministry. Out of that ministry grew two small rural schools with Sabbath schools in the nearby areas. Another was located in East Selma and called “Little Knox,” over which Miss Sophie Kingston served as principal and teacher. A newly built public elementary school in East Selma bears her name.

Knox Academy, the main base of operations, was founded May 11, 1874. Rev. George Elliott was the first superintendent, with about 48 white workers and 52 black workers. The school offered a regular curriculum along with vocational and Bible training. It was active in winning souls for Christ and preparing them for Christian service.

One year after the academy was founded, a congregation of 25 was formally ...

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