Herman Presbyterian Historical Marker to Be Installed

March 25, 2013
Media contact: Mary Lynn Norton

State Historical Marker Dedication
Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 11:00 am

Rock Hill, SC – The Culture & Heritage Museums and the Hermon Presbyterian Church congregation will dedicate a new South Carolina state historical marker at the site of the original church building on 446 Dave Lyle Boulevard on Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at 11:00 am.

Hermon Presbyterian Church in Rock Hill was established in 1869 by former African American slaves who were members of the Presbyterian Church in York County prior to the Civil War. At that time, the Presbyterian Church was the predominant Christian church in the Carolina Piedmont. The Presbyterian Church, like the Methodist and Baptist churches, had split in the 1840s over issues like slavery and civil rights. After the end of the Civil War, the Northern Presbyterian Church sent missionaries to the South to help the freed slaves organize new Presbyterian churches for the African American community.

Hermon Presbyterian Church was one of the first African American churches organized in York County after the Civil War, and it is the oldest black church in Rock Hill. The Gothic Revival brick church building on Dave Lyle Boulevard was built between 1901 and 1903 by members of the congregation, who did all of the brick work and carpentry work for the church. The first minister was Rev. J. A. Rainey.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Hermon Church was active in the civil rights movement in Rock Hill. The minister at that time, Rev. Cecil Ivory, was president of the local NAACP chapter and supported the demonstrations in Rock Hill against segregated lunch counters and other segregated public places. The church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. A new, larger church building was constructed on Heckle Boulevard in 1999, after which the original building became a community center.

A reception will be held in the church fellowship hall following the dedication. The ceremony is open to the public.