A Brief History of Little Rock, Arkansas
Little Rock Black Church Organized in 1912
A Seventh-day Adventist black church was organized in Little Rock with eight members on Sabbath, July 27, 1912, following a ten-day camp meeting. The organization meeting was held in a tent and presided over by Pastor J. W. Norwood, President of the Arkansas Conference (Spring, 1912). For many years this was known as the Little Rock Church No. 2. In 1942, the church building underwent some extensive remodeling. The auditorium was enlarged, new windows were added, a new roof was put on and a new coat of paint applied (Record, 1942). In 1946, it was voted that the term “Colored” be used in church names in place of the No. 2 designation, so this became the Little Rock Colored church (Minutes, 1946).
A New Church in 1957
In 1957, this faith-filled congregation under the leadership of the district pastor, M. M. Young, constructed a beautiful new church building which was planned for service to the entire community. The building was constructed of red brick, and would seat two hundred people. There were also adequate facilities for a church school, Health and Welfare Center, recreation hall and a kitchen (Young, 1957).
Young Church Leader
Terrence James Roberts, a sixteen year old young man, was a member of the Little Rock Colored church and led the music for the services (Young, 1957). As a result of the subsequent closing of Little Rock’s high schools during the 1958-1959 school year, Roberts moved to Los Angeles, California, and lived with relatives (Roberts, 2009). There, Roberts completed his senior year at Los Angeles High School.
Terrence Roberts in 1957 (Baker, 2010).
The Little Rock Nine
Terrence J. Roberts (1941-) was one of the legendary “Little Rock Nine” who dealt a decisive blow to racial segregationism by attending Little Rock’s Central High on September 23, 1957. He is currently Principal of the management-consulting firm, Terrence Roberts Consulting (Consulting, 2013).
(1942, Sept. 9). Southwestern Union Record, p. 3.
(1946, Mar. 26). Executive Committee Minutes. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
Baker, Benjamin. (2010). Terrence J. Roberts. Retrieved from blacksdahistory.org.
Roberts, Terrance J. (2009). Lessons from Little Rock. Retrieved from butlercenter.org/publication/books/lessonsfrom/author.html.
Scott, Sidney. (1901, Oct. 22). Review and Herald, p. 692.
Spring, L. A. (1912, Aug. 20). Southwestern Union Record, p. 2.
Terrance Roberts Consulting. (2013). About. Retrieved from terrenceroberts.com.
Young, M. M. (1957, Sep. 25). Southwestern Union Record, p. 5.