Centennial Baptist Church has been designated a National Historic Landmark for its association with Elias Camp Morris, one of our nation’s most influential African American leaders and Centennial’s pastor for over forty years.
Rev. Morris led the National Baptist Convention for twenty-seven years, from 1895 to 1922. Morris was active in politics, serving as a delegate to state and national Republican conventions. He helped found Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock, which at the time was considered to be the only institution of higher learning for African Americans not governed by a white administration. As part of his mission to educate and inform, Morris brought more than five hundred African American speakers to Centennial Baptist Church, including Booker T. Washington.
Centennial Church is the only known example in Arkansas of a church designed by an African American architect for an African American congregation. Henry James Price, a member of Centennial Baptist, designed this Gothic Revival church.
The church is not currently open for tours. It can be best viewed from the west side of Columbia Street (by Fort Curtis), where the following interpretive panel is placed.