PETERSBURG, Va. -- A Virginia historical highway marker is being issued to highlight one of the nation's oldest African American congregations.
A public dedication and unveiling ceremony for the First Baptist Church marker will be held Saturday in Petersburg, on the south side of the church.
First Baptist traces its origins to 1756, when worshipers known as New Lights began meeting outside Petersburg.
The congregation moved to Petersburg about 1820 and opened a sanctuary there in 1863.
The marker says the original building burned in 1866, “during a wave of arson targeting Petersburg’s black churches." In 1872, the congregation built the current sanctuary.