Erected in 1901, Woodworth Chapel is the center of religious life for Tougaloo College and the surrounding neighborhood. It was named in honor of Dr. Frank G. Woodworth who served as Tougaloo College president from 1887 to 1912. Throughout his twenty-five years of service to the college along with his duties as president he also served as the college's chaplain.During the Civil Rights movement, the Chapel was the venue for prominent activists and leaders.
During the tumultuous 1960s and early 1970s, speakers of many persuasions, including such icons as Ralph Bunche, Julian Bond, Stokely Carmichael, James Baldwin, Roy Wilkins, Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers, Robert F. Kennedy and Fannie Lou Hamer, used the Chapel podium. Harry Belafonte, Leontyne Price, Frank Sinatra and many others performed in the Chapel. On the night of Joan Baez's Civil Rights era performance (April 1964), Woodworth Chapel was filled with the most integrated audience of its entire history. For the beauty it reveals in myriad forms, many consider Woodworth Chapel to be the origin of Mississippi's Civil Rights Movement.