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Church Founded By Freed Slaves Commemorates March On Washington

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Shiloh Baptist Church in Shaw was founded by freed slaves and was the site of a sermon by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1960.
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Shiloh Baptist Church in Shaw was founded by freed slaves and was the site of a sermon by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1960.

Shiloh Baptist Church in Shaw was founded 150 years ago by freed slaves, and in 1960 it played host to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As part of today's commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington, it played host to an interfaith service with pastors, rabbis, imams, Sikhs and an Archbishop in attendance.

"I ask that you remember that the faith community has to be the head and not the tail. That we have to be in the center of every struggle for freedom, justice and equality," said Bernice King, Dr. King's youngest daughter.

Wallace Charles Smith, the church's pastor, says the service was focused on the role religion played in the fight for equality.

"The civil rights struggle back in the 50s and even before that was born in churches. People tend to forget, but Dr. King was first and foremost a pastor, he was a preacher, he was a theologian, and you'll see some of that reflected today," he says.

The event also served to highlight the changing guard in the civil rights struggle, and the continued importance of faith.

"Through all the struggles and strifes of life, we still have the hop and the belief that God is still in the delivering business," said Shiloh pastor Wallace Charles Smith.

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