Marker acknowledges occasion that cemented St. Relaxation Baptist’s place in civil rights historical past

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) – A Shreveport church was about 89 years old when it needed to be relocated to make way for Interstate 20 construction.

Then it was bombed shortly after the congregation moved into their new home in 1961.

Now the events that cemented St. Rest Baptist’s place in the civil rights movement are highlighted on a historic marker unveiled on Sunday June 13th.

The church commemorated the occasion and also celebrated “Dr. Harry Blake Day “in honor of the late Pastor Harry Blake, who” … was the visionary of the historical marker, the inauguration of the ‘Rev. Robert L. Walton Fellowship Hall “and the renaming of the 1600 block of Garden Street in honor of Rev. John B. Simmons.”

“We are grateful for the service Pastor Blake has rendered to our ward while he has worked for us and with us,” read a statement released by the Church. “We believe it is important for us to show how much we value everything he has done and how much he means to our church family.”

It was under Simmons’ leadership that St. Rest Baptist was rebuilt in the 1664 Garden after it was relocated there because it was on the route of the then future I-20.

You can still see damage to the sidewalk where the bomb detonated outside Simmons’ office on October 9, 1961, causing significant damage to the building. St. Rest Baptist was the only Shreveport church that was bombed.

(Source: Bubba Kneipp / KSLA News 12)

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