A 100-year-old black church is finally back in its rightful ownership. The original deed for Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church in Marion specified it should stay in the hands of people of color. It fell out of that ownership for years, until now. Saturday in Marion, a group of people celebrated the historic step forward for the church’s future.
It was the surprise of Evelyn Lawrence’s lifetime. The deed for Mt. Pleasant Church was signed into her ownership.
“I knew as a little girl that I always wanted it to be a permanent thing for black people, the facility, the church and everything that went on in the church,” said Lawrence. She is the last remaining member of that church. She and a dedicated group of people, including to the Mt. Pleasant Preservation Society, Inc. have been working to regain its ownership.
The deed was presented during a black history celebration in Marion Saturday. It was the perfect venue to celebrate the church built by and for the black community.
“That is an original, we did not inherit it from another group,” said Lawrence.
The church was built in 1914. It’s steeped in Smyth County history. It’s where Lawrence was born. She wants to make it a museum commemorating black contribution to Southwest Virginia. But Mt. Pleasant Preservation Society Co-chair William Fields says it’s about more than black history.
“It’s not so much I would say black history as I would say “our-story,” to tell our story and that story includes both blacks and whites of this area,” said Fields.
Source: WCYB | Cassandra Sweetman