Friendship Baptist Church was established in 1862 and independently organized in 1866, in the days after the Civil War, becoming Atlanta's first black Baptist autonomous congregation. The congregation, being unable to buy property, worshipped in a boxcar that was sent to Atlanta from Chattanooga to house the first class room of what became known as Atlanta University. An agreement was made with school organizers and Friendship leaders to share this boxcar for church services and educational purposes. The membership grew rapidly so the congregation moved to a larger building on the corner of Haynes and Markham Streets, and later to its present site at Northside Drive. Friendship's role in black education has been unique in that Morehouse College, upon moving to Atlanta from Augusta in 1879, set up classes in Friendship Baptist Church, and Spelman College had its beginning in the basement of the present site in 1881. Close ties between these institutions continue to this day.
Moving Forward in the Spirit of Christian Unity
April 21, 2013: Naming Ceremony of “The Samuel W. Williams Organ and Rededication Recital” Featuring : A. Nathaniel Gumbs, Guest Organist & Friendship Baptist Church combined Choirs, directed by Dr. James Abbington & Dr. Sharon J. Willis.
April 27, 2013: Friendship Forum Ministry Presents “The Civil Rights Movement: Past, Present & Future,” Keynote Speaker, Ms. Lula Joe Williams, former staff member of SCLC under the direction of the Late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She was active in the Civil Rights Movement as a foot soldier and Civil Rights Advocate. Panelists will include: Ms. Kimberly Mitchem-Rasmussen, founder of the Political Institute for Women, Ms. Jessica Johnson, founder of “The Scholarship Academy”, and Raymond P. Carpenter, Esq., Raymond P. Carpenter & Associates, LLC.
April 28, 2013, Anniversary Sunday, Celebrating 151 years of Christian service: Moving Forward in the Spirit of Christian Unity,” Guest Minister: The Reverend Dr. Charles G. Adams, Sr. Pastor, Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, Detroit, Michigan. Music: Combined Choirs of Friendship Baptist Church, under the direction of Dr. Sharon J. Willis and Dr. James Abbington.