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Michigan– The oldest African-American church in Michigan is celebrating its 175th anniversary this month with a series of events and services that kick off Sunday.

Founded in 1836, Second Baptist Church of Detroit has a long, storied history: It helped hide runaway slaves, fought for civil rights and today continues to battle for social and racial justice.

“We’re proud of our history of fighting for freedom, equality and justice. … It’s at the very heart of being a Christian,” said the Rev. Kevin Turman, church pastor. “We’ve tried to be effective inheritors of the legacy given to us by those who started the church.”

The church’s members were once known for “hiding runaway slaves, including using the basement of the church as a hiding place,” Turman said. “They put their own liberty and the property of the church in jeopardy” for the slaves’ freedom.


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