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Marker recognizes event that cemented St. Rest Baptist’s place in civil rights history

It’s the only Shreveport church that was bombed during the Civil Rights Movement
A historical marker unveiled June 13, 2021, cements St. Rest Baptist's place in civil rights...
A historical marker unveiled June 13, 2021, cements St. Rest Baptist's place in civil rights history. It is the only church that was bombed during the Civil Rights Movement.(Source: Bubba Kneipp/KSLA News 12)
Updated: Jun. 13, 2021 at 11:06 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — A Shreveport church was about 89 years old when it had to be moved to make way for construction of Interstate 20.

Then it was bombed soon after the congregation moved into its new home in 1961.

Now the events that cemented St. Rest Baptist’s place in the Civil Rights Movement are highlighted on a historical marker that was unveiled Sunday, June 13.

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

“We are grateful for the service that Pastor Blake provided our congregation as he labored for us and with us,” says a statement released by the church. “We believe it is essential for us to show how much we appreciate all he did and how much he meant to our church family.”

It was under Simmons’ leadership that St. Rest Baptist was rebuilt at 1664 Garden after being moved there because it was in the path of the then-future I-20.

You still can see damage to the sidewalk where the bomb was detonated outside of Simmons’ office on Oct. 9, 1961, causing substantial 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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