In April 1866 following the end of the Civil War, the need for schools for African-American children caused a discussion about the need for change in Alabama. Unfortunately there were little funds for anything other than rebuilding and education was not a top priority for everyone. The majority of African-American children lived in rural areas and most schools could only be found in cities. The editor of The Alabama Baptist was passionate about the need for education and felt it was our “solemn duty” to help. Southern Baptists had been working in Africa for many years as missionaries with the African people and they continued their work in Alabama with the recently freed slaves. (TAB
In the spring of 1975, Birmingham Baptist Medical Centers (BMC) appointed Emmett Johnson as its new CEO, according to The Alabama Baptist. He was previously the administrator of High Plains Baptist Hospital in Amarillo, Texas, and began his role as president of BMC in mid-June. While Johnson was with BMC the health care complex consisted of 912 beds. (TAB)
In March 1995, The Alabama Baptist reported that Jane Ferguson was named Humanitarian of the Year by The Montgomery Advertiser. She was honored for her years of work as director of community ministries at First Baptist Church, Montgomery. Jay Wolf, pastor of First, Montgomery, said, “She is one of God’s choice people and one of Montgomery’s greatest assets.” Ferguson continues to work with the needy and disadvantaged in Montgomery. (TAB)
In March of 1986, Parham Williams Jr. was named dean of Samford University’s Cumberland Law School, according to The Alabama Baptist. Both of his parents were 1925 graduates from Cumberland Law School.
Also reported in the paper was Tommy Karn being named Man of the Year at the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce annual banquet. He earned this honor by serving 16 years as director of missions in Chilton-Unity Association. (TAB)
On March 26, 1995, Allan Murphy was installed as pastor of North Shelby Baptist Church, Birmingham, according to The Alabama Baptist. Murphy had recently returned from serving as a church planter in Curacao Netherlands Antilles. He had been serving abroad with the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) since the late 1980s. (TAB)
In March 1975, The Alabama Baptist reported that Dewey and Phyllis Mayfield were appointed by the Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board). Dewey Mayfield would serve as director of Christian Social Ministries in Huntsville. TAB also reported that Forest Hicks, a former dean of admissions at Hannibal-LaGrange College in Hannibal, Missouri, became the new pastor of Fourmile Baptist Church, Wilsonville. Hicks was previously a pastor in several other churches including Centreville Baptist Church; Goode Street Church, Montgomery; Vinesville Baptist Church, Birmingham; and First Baptist Church, Arab. (TAB)
In March 1965, The Alabama Baptist reported news of a week of revival that was said to be a mighty outpouring of the Spirit.According to Ian H.C. Walker, pastor of Siloam Baptist Church, Marion, more than 100 students from Judson College and Marion Institute decided to be born again. Also the then-Foreign Mission Board appointed 28 missionaries.Pastor Hal K. Jacks, of Wedowee Baptist Church, and his wife were among the new group of missionaries to serve in Indonesia. (TAB)
In Feb. 23, 1916, B.D. Gray, corresponding secretary of the Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board), reported to The Alabama Baptist, “Our work in Cuba grows steadily and encouragingly.”The mission focused on four western provinces of the island and the majority of missionaries were in Santa Clara. The quickly growing Cuban population was a difficult challenge for missionaries. The ratio at the time was 1 missionary to every 50,000 people. (TAB)
On Feb. 21, 1966, Birmingham Baptist Hospital located on Princeton Avenue opened its doors to patients. The Alabama Baptist helped introduce this new hospital which offered new modern features and was equipped with 500 beds. During the open house, visitors were able to see a post-anesthesia recovery room, operating rooms and the intensive care unit.
It was evident Southern Baptists who funded the hospital wanted it to be a place where patients could pray and worship. In the main lobby there was a chapel as well as offices for the chaplain and his secretary. Prayer rooms and visitor lounges were available on every patient floor to provide opportunity for rest, fellowship and prayer. (TAB)
In 1889, The Alabama Baptist reported that messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Selma voted to establish a five-woman group — called the Central Committee — to promote missions causes among women of Alabama Baptist churches.
The action came despite strong opposition from some pastors who argued Southern women did not want to engage in the public forum.
The convention vote complied with a request by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) asking all states to appoint Central Committees to promote missions.
Mrs. L.A. Hamilton was the first president. The following year the Central Committee became the Alabama Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) affiliated with the SBC WMU Auxiliary. (TAB)
In February 1866 the South was in the early stages of reconstruction and many cities were having a difficult time recovering.
Judson College in Marion, known originally as The Judson Female Institute, was able to recover while barely skipping a beat while Howard College (now Samford University) in Birmingham was having a slower rebuilding process. The Alabama Baptist editor encouraged everyone to take heart and not be discouraged by the slow process.
An editorial in the paper explained the “freedmen” had mostly stayed with their original owners and were now receiving wages. It was only a matter of time before the former slaves made their own churches. (TAB)
On Saturday, Feb. 4, 1843, the first issue of The Alabama Baptist was published in Marion. Milo Jewett, president of Judson Female Institute, was listed as senior editor. The paper was printed by Love and Dykous, publishers of the Marion Herald.
The Committee on Periodicals of the Alabama Baptist State Convention quickly recommended and messengers approved the new paper as the convention’s official organ for communicating with cooperating churches. (TAB)