This historic church is home to a congregation that was formed shortly after the Civil War. The congregation acquired this church in 1928. During the civil rights movement, Zion Baptist Church was a center or activism under the leadership of Reverend Alfred Daniel Williams King, the younger brother of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Zion Baptist Church was organized on
Thursday, August 8, 1878. Due to growing membership, the church purchased this building and dedicated their new sanctuary on December 9, 1928. The new space offered an
auditorium, chapel, dining hall, kitchen, and educational building along with 38 rooms. On November 11, 1956, thirteen white citizens joined the church making Zion Baptist the first interracial church in the state of Kentucky
since before the Civil War when slaves often accompanied their masters to church.
In 1965, Zion Baptist hired a new pastor, Reverend Alfred Daniels William King. The younger brother of Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr., Reverend King started the Kentucky chapter of the
Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The Kentucky chapter was known as the
Kentucky Christian Leadership Council. Reverend A. D. fought urban renewal programs that threatened to disrupt the continuity of the black community and and sought for open housing ordinances that would help African Americans.
Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr. joined his brother and delivered a sermon from the pulpit of Zion. Upon the assassination of
his brother, Reverend A.D. King moved to Atlanta to serve as a pastor at Ebenezer
Zion Baptist Church was not only a place of praise and
worship, but it was the home base for the growing change that the civil rights
movement was bringing forth. The congregation's pastors such as W.H. Craighead, H.D. Cockerham Alfred Daniels
King, and others not only administered to the religious needs of the community but served as leaders during the 20th century fight for equal rights.