Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church

Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church

Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church was designed by the notable African-American architect Wallace Augustus Rayfield, of Birmingham, Alabama. Throughout its history, Mt. Zion has been dedicated to social welfare efforts in their community.

In 1880, Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church was begun in Escambia County, Florida, in an all-black community called Hawk Shaw. Many of the members organizing the church had the rare experience of being educated by whites and blacks during the pre-Civil War era. These skills set them apart from blacks on the northern end of Escambia County (Robert Overton, Oral interview, 2012). It is for this reason that the church saw as its mission the responsibility to assist in the education of the community.

In 1945, the church, led by its Pastor Raymond A. Cromwell, spearheaded a lawsuit to abolish the all-White Democratic primary prevailing in the state of Florida and most of the Southern States.

The decision resulted in the largest number of blacks voting that year in the history of Florida. This decision was rendered twenty years before the March on Washington, and twenty years before the Voting Rights Act was passed by the United States Congress in 1965. Davis v. State ex re/.(11) Cromwell (1945) (en bane) continues to be cited in voting rights briefs today

Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.