Wendell P. Dabney      

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




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Union Baptist Church
  Union Baptist Church, the first African American Baptist congregation formed in Cincinnati, was started on July 21, 1831 by a group of African Americans from Enon Baptist Church. They had become frustrated with Enon’s segregationist policies and planned to establish their own church as a branch of Enon and then work towards independence as a separate congregation. After two years of meeting in members’ homes, a church was finally built on Western Row between 2nd and 3rd Streets. Two years later in 1835 the congregation gained their independence from Enon Baptist Church and named the new church Union Baptist.  
With the plight of slavery weighing heavily on them, monthly prayer meetings were begun in 1839 to pray for abolition. Many other projects were initiated during the early years of the church, including missionary trips to other parts of Ohio and Africa as well as a Singing School. In 1840 and in 1864 the church site moved to Baker Street and then to the corner of Mound and Richmond Streets, respectively, due to an expanding business center. In 1861 a branch church was established in Walnut Hills, which eventually became an independent and thriving congregation known as First Baptist Church of Walnut Hills.
During Union Baptist’s years at the Mound and Richmond site, the congregation instituted many new projects, including a new church building in 1895, an annex in 1924, and in 1949, a social center to house the many charity and social organizations of the church. During the late 1960s, the congregation was forced to move again due to an urban renewal project. After some difficulty in finding a new site, funds were raised to build a new church at 7th Street and Central Avenue. Two years later, as part of an urban renewal project, the City of Cincinnati gave funds to the church to build a high-rise building on their property. The building was named Page Tower after Rev. Wilber A. Page, who was pastor of Union Baptist from 1919 until his death in 1985.

To learn more about Union Baptist Church, consult the following resources:

Union Baptist Church website

A History of Union Baptist Church, 1831-1972 and the Career of Wilbur A. Page
By Terriel R. Byrd
Pamphlets f286.17714 B995
This work traces the beginnings of the church, noting what else was happening in the African American community in the nineteenth century. Byrd then chronicles the work of Page as pastor of the Church from 1919 until 1972.    View catalog record   Request slip
History of Union Baptist Church
By Wilber A. Page
General 286 P133
This is a history of Union Baptist Church written by Rev. Wilber A. Page. It discusses the founding of the church and lists the church's pastors and the buildings that have housed the congregation over the years.     View catalog record   Request slip

Wilber Allen Page Papers, 1920-1984
Mss 791
This collection of papers contains sermons, addresses and speeches by Rev. Page. It includes programs, pamphlets and newspaper clippings about Union Baptist Church. For More information, a collection register is available in the Library.   Request slip


Sources Used for Historical Sketch:
  • Page, Wilber A. History of Union Baptist Church. Cincinnati, 1978. General 286 P133, Cincinnati History Library and Archives. Cincinnati Museum Center.


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This online guide opened on February 10, 2004.