Our Story

The Historic Beulah Baptist Church was organized in 1880 at the home of Bro. Monday and Sis. Dora Tolbert Duvall on the corner of Hull and Winnie Streets. This small group of Christians, led by Rev. William (Billy) Jenkins, worked hard toward its goal: a fitting place of worship. Their hearts’ desire was realized when the first church building was erected on Norton Street. Rev. Jenkins served faithfully and untiringly for seven years until the Good Master said, “Well done,” and Rev. Jenkins went to his reward in 1887. Many descendants of Monday and Dora Tolbert Duvall still worship here at Beulah, namely the families of the late Evelyn Duvall Hardy, the late Marjorie Duvall Riley, Nathene Duvall McDade, and Edwina Duvall Johnson.


Rev. Albert Danzier then served for one year. In 1889, Rev. D. S. Adams was called by the congregation. He was successful in liquidating the debt of the church. In 1904, Rev. S. M. Smart became the pastor. During his administration, the physical appearance of the church was improved. A vestibule was added and new seats were installed. The church enrollment grew, and the congregation was filled with determination to do God’s will. His granddaughter, Nellena Lee, is presently a Beulah congregant.


Fighting hard to get out of its old building on Norton Street, the church, in 1912, purchased two lots on Union Street, and in 1918 work was begun on its new edifice. The new building (42 ½ x 92 ½) had two stories in the rear to accommodate the Sunday school. In 1919, the congregation proudly moved into its $21,000 building located just south of the Booker T. Washington High School building. The address was 625 South Union Street where Beulah worshiped until 1975.


In 1922, the Rev. C. S. Reddick accepted the call of the congregation. Rev. Reddick was empowered with great administrative ability and was known throughout the area as a great preacher. Beulah church took on new life. There were only 97 members when he became pastor, but the membership grew to more than 600 before he left.


Many organizations began to function under Rev. Reddick’s leadership. Sunday school was conducted with Bro. J. W. Foster as superintendent; Sis. Sadie Duvall, recording secretary; and Sis. Mary Green, financial secretary. Sunday school, with nearly 200 in attendance, had eight teachers: Sis. Mamie Taylor, Sis. Minnie Solomon, Sis. Ida Brent, Sis. Queen Williams, Bro. Walter Moore, Bro. L. Garner, Sis. Annie Poole, and Sis. Rosa Woods. The Baptist Young People’s Union was conducted by Bro. Ed Cole, president; Sis. Viola Abro, recording secretary; and Sis. Ruth White, financial secretary. Other workers (instructors) were the Pastor, Sis. Caroline Cole, Sis. Otis Lassiter, Sis. Berta Williams, Sis. Sadie Duvall, and Sis. C. S. Reddick. The church officers were Bros. J. W. Foster, N. H. Ashley, C. H. Washington, Reuben Lewis, George Duvall, Eddie Cole, W. T. Moore, S. M. Murphy, Thomas Watts, and Will Abro. Later, Rev. Reddick accepted a call to the 23rd Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1924.


Rev. H. D. Parker accepted the call to Beulah in 1925. During his administration, a substantial portion of the church mortgage was paid. He resigned in 1928.


Rev. C. C. Clency served as pastor from 1929 to 1932. Under his pastorate a piano was purchased, and the long, heavy mortgage of the church was paid off and burned.


In 1932, Rev. W. E. Ramsey accepted the call to Beulah. The church grew and was strong. Among the physical improvements were installation of sanitary facilities in the church and renovation of the parsonage next to the church on South Union Street.


Rev. J. S. Gambles served from 1936 to 1939, and the church continued to flourish.


Rev. E. W. Walton accepted the call in 1940. He was a dynamic leader and great preacher. The membership grew and souls were brought to Christ. The physical improvements were tremendous. The interior of the church was completely renovated. A modern heating system was installed, two pianos were purchased, a bulletin board was created, a public address system was installed, the church office was equipped with modern facilities, and a part-time secretary was hired. The crowning improvement was the installation of beautiful pews at the cost of $2,200. In 1948, Rev. Walton accepted a call to Detroit, Michigan.


In January 1949, the Rev. O. M. Hoover accepted the call to Beulah. He was a great singer and evangelist. More than one hundred members were added to the church under his pastorate. Under his administration, carpet-runners were added, further renovation of the pastor’s office was done, and a beautiful organ was installed. In 1952, he was called to serve at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio.


In December 1953, Rev. Willie Frank Alford was called to shepherd the Beulah congregation. Under his administration, plans were established for the future expansion of the church’s physical facilities. Beulah has always actively participated in the spiritual, cultural, and educational life of the community. Eleven preachers now serving over the nation received their training and were ordained here.


Beulah hosted the Alabama Baptist Missionary State Convention of which Dr. W. F. Alford was president until his homegoing. He also served on the Board of Directors for the National Baptist Convention, USA. On August 25, 1989, the homegoing celebration for Dr. Willie Frank Alford was held at the church. He left a strong, powerful legacy as the longest serving pastor in the history of the church. He served for 35 years. There are generations of Alfords still serving at Beulah today, namely, Mrs. Bertha Alford Pinkston.


Beulah has a rich history. It served as the first “classroom” of the State Normal College, now Alabama State University. Many civil, political and spiritual meetings were held in Beulah’s sanctuary, including but not limited to the Civil Rights Mass Meetings of the sixties, The Emancipation Celebration, Montgomery Antioch District Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress, the Youth Rally of the Southeast District, and the Montgomery Antioch Women’s Convention. Also, Beulah was the church home of the parents of Nat King Cole. Edward James and Perlina Coles worshipped in Beulah before they moved to Chicago in 1923. For several years Beulah was home to a Boys and Girls Club, which served hundreds of area youths. At present, Beulah serves as Voting Precinct 202 for the Montgomery Election Center and has for many years.


In 1975, the edifice that had existed for fifty years was to be torn down to make way for a portion of the new interstate highway system. The pastor and congregation moved to Loveless Elementary School, 921 West Jeff Davis Avenue, where we were welcomed until July 1976. The pastor and congregation marched to a new sanctuary located at 3703 Rosa L. Parks Avenue (formerly Cleveland Avenue). At that time Beulah’s congregation took over a debt of more than six-hundred thousand dollars. Surprisingly to some, but by faith and God’s help, the mortgage was paid in full in 1984.


The Master blessed the congregation with another servant on December 24, 1989. Rev. Porter Osby, Jr., accepted the call to Beulah. Under his energetic leadership, many projects begun by Rev. W. F. Alford have been expanded while others were launched. These projects include the following: Beulah Baptist Church Christian Education Institute for the Certification of Teachers and the Prison Outreach (This ministry ministers mostly to the incarcerated youths at the Air Base Youth Detention Center on Sunday mornings); Minister of Christian Education, the Conservating Committee (responsible for membership monitoring and compilation of the pictorial church directory), the Health and Welfare Committee (responsible for assisting those in need), a new members’ class, after-school tutorial program, the male usher board, meals-on-wheels program (which delivers over 400 prepared meals weekly), a clothes closet, a week-long youth Bible camp/Vacation Bible School, a Crisis Intervention Program, Youth Church, a Fifth Sunday Fellowship breakfast, a revitalized Male Chorus and Laymen group, a tape ministry with mail out to the sick-and-shut in, special member repast benefits from the church for a bereaved family, the Nurses’ Guild taking blood pressure every second Sunday, a foreign mission and benevolent relief collection every fourth Sunday, and Saturday youth activities. These programs have met with great success. The church has added two full-time custodians, and the physical plant has undergone refurbishing of the pews and choir seats, new carpet in the back hallway, new laminating machines, new tables and chairs in the Fellowship Hall, portable water coolers throughout the church, new air conditioner units in F.O.C.A.L. and the sanctuary, a new cooling tower, and an ice machine. In addition, a new 28-passenger bus and two new vans were purchased. In keeping with the times, technology has added computers (lab), fax machines, security with video monitoring and fire systems, a new audio system, a Xerox color copier, as well as, a new organ, piano, and keyboard. Most recently, Beulah has added the video data projector in the sanctuary, the fruit of the 2005 anniversary project, one new and three completely renovated bathrooms, and many other improvements to the physical structure. In 2006, the pastoral office was moved downstairs and newly furnished, with an accommodating conference room and sitting area. The business offices of Beulah were moved to another remodeled area with offices for the clerks, a finance room, a trustee room, a newsletter room, and a conference room. Beulah’s place in history was engraved on a historical marker which was erected and unveiled on June 25, 2006. In 2007, the handicap ramp from the back hallway to the Fellowship Hall was built. Also, the keyless entry system, which was begun in 2006, was completed in 2007. Unveiled as the annual church anniversary project for June 2007 was a beautiful historical quilt. Embedded on the quilt are snapshots of Beulah’s history and handprints of the future. During the last year, the sound booth in the sanctuary has been enlarged and updated, along with a new sound system. In November 2007, Beulah also hosted the 140th Alabama State Missionary Baptist Convention, Inc., where the newly elected president Dr. L.C. McMillian gave his first address.


After extensive training, an Evangelistic Outreach Team became active in May 2007 under the guidance of the associate minister for evangelism, Rev. Theodore Sanders.


  • Our heritage is priceless. The stalwarts of yesteryear have wrought well. The foundation is established, and the present membership and capable leaders are pressing on toward a more fruitful future. We look toward our Savior for our history, our present, and our future, and that allows us at the Historic Beulah to faithfully say:


“We, though many, are one body united in Christ.”