Historically, the church has been the center of African American life in the United States and is still the largest and strongest institution for this segment of the American population today. It serves as a spiritual fortress and as a significant economic and political influence. In addition, the church can take credit for producing some of the most charismatic and powerful African American leaders this country has ever known.
In July of 1879, Rev. Charles Augustis and twelve other dedicated Christian men and women met in Worship at a location on Indiana and Goliad Streets. These persons founded and were charter members of Macedonia Baptist Church, which was later renamed Second Baptist Church. in October 1890. In addition to Rev. Augustis other founding members were: Rev. Reuben Anderson, (his wife) Mrs. Elvina Anderson, Mrs. Anna Hill, Mrs. Alice Lewis, Mrs. L. M. Logan, Mrs. Dadie Grallam, Mrs. Laura Franklin, Mr. H. T. Harvey, Mr. Benjamin Jones, Mr. Jessie Riddle, Mr. Jesse Winn and Mr. Alexander Hogan.
The present pastor, The Rev. Dr. Robert L. Jemerson, began his ministry with the church on September 1, 1993. Since the beginning of his ministry, over 575 persons have been added to the church. His programs of Homework at Second Baptist (H.A.S.), Advent and Lenten Devotions, Teddy Bear Christmas Tree, Youth Music/Piano Workshop, Pastor and Family’s Christmas Dinner, School Vacation Day Camps, Deacons’ Ministry, Health Fair, Student and Teachers’ Dedication Service, Marriage Vows Renewal, Youth Dinner Theater, Second Baptist Church Library, Thanksgiving In The Park, upgrading office equipment, upgrading computer systems, acquisition of land and the addition of administrative staff have added greatly to the spirituality of the church.
Several sites have served as locations for the church building during the past one hundred-twenty nine years. Live Oak and Dawson Streets were the second site for the church, and in 1894, a frame building was constructed on the corner of Chestnut and Center Streets. In 1903, Rev. A. W. Smith led the church in a rebuilding program to include a parsonage. From 1909-1910, under the pastorate of Rev. I. H. Kelly, the beautiful old stone church was erected at the same Chestnut and Center Street site. Many local, state, and national meetings were held at the church because of its accommodations and its location near the hear of downtown. In 1968, due to the city’s expansion and redevelopment, Second Baptist Church moved to its present location, 3310 East Commerce Street. Under the leadership of Rev. S. H. James, Jr., the church purchased a five acre site for construction of a new church and development of a playground to help meet the needs of the community.
The Second Baptist Church of today has not forgotten her glorious past. The Narthex Screen, composed of stained glass windows from the old church, is a memorial to this church’s past deeds and accomplishments, reflecting wisdom for the future generations.
Previous convention affiliations and district associations were with The Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention of Texas, General Baptist Convention of America, National Baptist Convention of America, Inc., and Guadalupe District Association, Inc. Presently, the church is affiliated with the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., American Baptist Convention, and La Grange District Association.