Wendell P. Dabney      

Guide to African American Resources
at the Cincinnati History Library and Archives




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Cincinnati History
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Immanuel Lutheran Church
  In the early 1920s, African American residents in Cincinnati's West End desired to establish a Lutheran congregation. Due to segregation in the Lutheran Church, the group was required to form a separate congregation under the sponsorship of the Colored Mission Program. The group began meeting in members' homes following the Synodical Conference of August 1922, which was held in Cincinnati. A building on the corner of Betts and Cutter Streets was purchased, remodeled and dedicated as their first church in 1924. Two years later the group was formally organized as a congregation and began operating a school.  
A few years later, the congregation had to vacate their building due to the city's construction of Laurel Homes. The Federation of Lutheran Churches purchased a building at Clinton and Baymiller streets for the congregation's use. It was dedicated on April 26, 1936.
During the early years of the church, Immanuel Lutheran (and other African American congregations) were denied full-fledged membership in the Lutheran Synods. This changed in 1948, and Immanuel Lutheran joined the Missouri Synod.
In the 1950s, the congregation was again affected by the city's urban renewal program. After trying to dissuade the city from taking the property, the congregation was forced to find a new location. They purchased a lot in Avondale at Rockdale and Washington Avenues. A new church building was constructed there and was dedicated on March 10, 1957.

To learn more about Immanuel Lutheran Church, consult the following resources:

Dedication, Immanuel Lutheran Church, March 10, 1957
Pamphlets 284.132 I33d
A history of Immanuel Lutheran Church is included in this program from the dedication of the new church located at Rockdale and Washington Avenues in Avondale.   View catalog record   Request slip
Immanuel Lutheran Church: Anniversary Celebration, 1968
Pamphlets 284.132 I33a
This pamphlet from the church's anniversary in 1968 covers the history of the congregation up to that point and includes biographical information about their pastor, Walter E. Fehrmann.   View catalog record   Request slip
Immanuel Lutheran Church: Golden Anniversary, 1926-1976
Pamphlets f284.132 I33g
In addition to a historical sketch of the church, this anniversary booklet contains historical photographs and statistics about the size of the congregation.   View catalog record   Request slip
Transcript of Letter to the Board of Colored Missions, March 21, 1925
Mss VF 440
This letter from the files of Immanuel Lutheran Church discusses the necessary qualifications of a teacher and the interactions between northern and southern African Americans.   Request slip

Sources Used for Historical Sketch:
  • Immanuel Lutheran Church. Immanuel Lutheran Church: Golden Anniversary, 1926-1976. Pamphlets f284.132 I33g, Cincinnati History Library and Archives. Cincinnati Museum Center.


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This online guide opened on February 10, 2004.