The complete history of the New Hope Baptist Church could fill a volume of books. Organized July 27. 1873, New Hope Baptist
Church has the distinction of being the first Black Church in Dallas, Texas, entirely organized and owned by Black people. The
idea of the church began with prayer meetings held by a few loyal Christians in the log cabin home of Sister Mattie Rainey,
located on the corner of what is now Fairmount Street and Munger Avenue. The entire group consisted of Sisters Mattie
Rainey, Emma Robinson, Love Vickey Drake, Lucenda Williams, Emma Starks, Sally Taylor and Brother Jerry Taylor. After
prayerful consideration, these seven dedicated pioneers decided to unite their efforts to form a church. They contacted the
American Baptist Home Mission Society, which recommended the Reverend John Hay, a traveling missionary evangelist, as the
person to organize their prayer band into a church. On the fourth Sunday in July 1873m their dream of a church was realized
with the organization of the New Hope Baptist Church.
Reverend Hay, a tireless religious leader, remained for nearly two years to increase and guide his faithful flock. The very
presence of New Hope Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, gave stability and respect to many Black citizens who only eight years
before had been freed from the cruel yoke of slavery. The Reverend John Hay (1873 – 1874) was followed by the reverend A. R.
Griggs (1874 – 1884).
Reverend Griggs proved to be a true man of God. His leadership strengthened the church organization. He directed it into the
leadership role that it has held for the past 139 years.
The Reverend C. N. Pryor (1884 – 1890), the third minister, was a leader who increased the dignity and promoted the growth and
success of the church. The Reverend E. W. D. Isaac (1890 – 1898), a graduate of Central Baptist Academy and completed
theological courses at Bishop College in Marshall, Texas, was one of the most dynamic Christian leaders of his age. His
education and previous church experience projected New Hope Baptist Church into a new realm of progress. He became
manager of the Star Publishing Company, which was associated with the Dallas Express, an early Black newspaper. This paper
gave voice to political disenfranchisement and lack of job and educational opportunities. Most of these same problems are still
being voiced today. Reverend Isaac expanded the church youth program, encouraged singing, public speaking and taught social
etiquette. He truly developed the church into a center for Christian community improvement
.Dr. Alexander Stephens Jackson (1899 – 1936) was both distinguished and well educated. He was a graduate of Atlanta and
Colgate Universities. He brought with him experience as a teacher and a preacher. He seemed destined to be a history maker
and leader of men. Time and space will not permit an accurate listing of the many “firsts” that were brought to fruition during
his lengthy tenure as pastor of New Hope Baptist Church. The church built and paid for a new church which was the first large
brick building in Dallas, owned and constructed by Blacks.
It soon became the center for all cultural political and educational gathering in the city; He organized the Patron’s League, an
organization dedicated to bringing nationally known black speakers to Dallas, such as Booker T. Washington, Mary Church
Terrell, W.B. Dubois and many others. Dr. Jackson was also fortunate to have a large, loving and talented family. As age
began to limit him his capable son, the Reverend Maynard Jackson became co-pastor (1934-1945) .
Reverend Maynard Jackson later became the full-time pastor of New Hope (1934- 1945). He was a graduate of Morehouse
College, Garrett School of Theology and studied at Chicago and Northwestern Universities. As successor to his father, he
continued the path of progress. His leadership gave birth to the First Progressive Voters League in Dallas in 1936. His son,
Maynard Jackson, Jr. the first Black mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, was born and grew up partially in New Hope Baptist Church in
The Reverend K.B. Polk (1945-1946) was selected to serve as interim pastor when Rev. Maynard Jackson resigned to accept a
new charge in Atlanta, Georgia. Rev. Polk was not only a minister but also a talented musician, school teacher school principal
Dr. O.M. Locust (1946-1951) accepted the pastorate as well as the challenge to perpetuate the greatness that New Hope Baptist
Church had achieved. Dr. Locust was a graduate of Wilberforce and Ohio Wesleyan Universities in Ohio, which was his home
state. He had also received an honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity and was a former professor of English, Bible and
Homiletics in the Central Baptist Theological Seminary at Topeka, Kansas. Dr. Locust and the church remained involved in
active, positive community action. He resigned in 1951 to become a full-time employee of the National Baptist Convention
The Reverend Clifford Jackson (1951-1953), a distinguished educator in the city and longtime member of New Hope, became the
Note: The History of the New Hope Baptist Church is copyrighted material and may not be copied,
reproduced or used in any manner without the express written permission of the New Hope Baptist Church.
|The New Hope Baptist Church Interim And
Celebrating 142 Years:
Dallas' Oldest African-American Christian Witness,
Founded in 1873 by African-Americans
|5002 s. Central expressway