A Brief History of Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Pine Bluff Black Church Organized in 1915
In April 1914, Mr. and Mrs. E. M. Gates and their young daughter went to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where they found a little company of five Adventists. The Gates began going door to door with tracts and books, opened up a mission school, and in six months organized a black church with twelve members. Next, they held some tent meetings, followed by a camp meeting in 1914, and another one in 1915. By November 1915, E. M. Gates was able to organize the Pine Bluff black church with twelve members. They soon grew to a membership of twenty-two, the mission school was still in operation, and they had $37.71 from book sales to begin building a church. They had a good place to meet but the rent was high, so they continued selling books to raise money to build their own church (Gates, 1916).
Top row, L to R: A. F. Harrison, L. D. Daniels, Nancy Dotson, Miss Beaver, Mrs. Jenkins, Mrs. Hattie Johnson, E. M. Gates, J. E. Mitchell, and G. C. Jenks; Bottom row: Unknown, Unknown, Katie Baker, Elder J. W. Dancer, Mrs. Dancer, A. Sawyer, Jennie Green, and Mrs. E. M. Gates (Record, 1914).
Pine Bluff Black Church Reorganized in 1928
In October 1928, Elder W. S. North, who had been working in Pine Bluff for quite a while, added six new members to the Pine Bluff church and reorganized the church, electing new officers (Record, 1928).
Pine Bluff Black Church Reorganized in 1936
During the summer of 1936, F. J. Bryant and J. H. Williams held tent meetings in Pine Bluff for the black people. The meetings were fairly well attended despite the plague of mosquitoes that invaded the tent on several nights, and a windstorm that ripped the tent and let in a lot of water one night. They ended September 6, and on Thursday night, December 17, 1936, a black church of twenty members was reorganized and officers elected (Bell, 1936).
(1914, Jun. 16). Southwestern Union Record, p. 1.
(1928, Oct. 23). Ibid., p. 2.
Bell, O. J. (1936, Dec. 30). Ibid., p. 2.
Gates, Mr. and Mrs. E. M. (1916, Jan. 18). Ibid., p. 3.