Churches were safe havens during the Civil Rights Movement and Nashville First Baptist Church, Capitol Hill became known as the Activist Church.
In March 1951, Kelly Miller Smith, Sr. became pastor of the church. Shortly after, Smith became the president of the local NAACP chapter and founded the Nashville Christian Leadership Council as a local chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC). Under Pastor Smith’s leadership, the church became a training ground for sit-in participants. The students would gather at the church to learn about nonviolent civil disobedience and how to react when met with violence at the sit-ins.
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