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Kansas City's First Black Baptist Church Marks 150 Year Anniversary

Second Baptist Church

One hundred fifty years ago the country was midway through the Civil War, and back then, Second Baptist Church was a mission known as a "Stragglers Camp" located on the south banks of the Missouri River.

These days, the church at 3620 E. 39th Street is reaching out to deal with crime and a high unemployment rate, and it's about to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s March on Washington.

The senior pastors of Second Baptist have enjoyed long tenures.Over the last 150 years, the church has been led by just eight head preachers.

On Friday's Up to Date, the Church's eighth pastor, Rev. Dr. Vernon Howard, joins Steve Kraske to talk about Second Baptist's history and their very present-day mission.

The Rev. Dr. Vernon Howard, leader of the Second Baptist Church in Kansas City, Mo., is a Kansas City native and attended William Jewell College. After earning a Master of Divinity degree from Central Baptist Theological Seminary, he joined the staff of St. Stephen Baptist Church. Later, he worked as an adjunct lecturer within the African American Studies department of the University of Arizona in Tucson. He has also worked at St. James United Methodist Church and as an adjunct professor of homiletics at the Central Baptist Theological Seminary and an adjunct instructor in cultural studies at William Jewell College.


Stephen Steigman is director of Classical KC and chief of broadcast operations for KCUR 89.3 and 91.9 Classical KC. You can email him at stephen@kcur.org.
When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.