304 Fayette Street
Martinsville, VA 24112
Mt. Zion AME Church - Martinsville
According to the late Sister Mary Penn Claibourne, one of the founding members of Mt. Zion AME Church, Martinsville, Virginia, the church was located on Fayette Street in the city of Martinsville and was organized in 1870 by Reverend Cogsfey. Records show that a parcel of land was purchased on September 27, 1873 from Samuel and William Lavinder for the purpose of building a public house of worship. That piece of land was adjacent to the present location of 304 Fayette Street.
The second pastor to serve Mt. Zion was Reverend Hardgrove. It was during his pastorate that the first church was destroyed by fire, but the disaster did not destroy the faith of the members. Rebuilding began in August 1928, and the church faced Fayette Street and given the address of 304 Fayette Street.
Reverend R.T. Anderson was next in line of service and was appointed three different times to serve the longest term of Mt. Zion’s history for a total of fifty-four years. It was in the early 1960’s under the leadership of Reverend Anderson when the congregation began to grow. Fayette Street was known to house many of the Black businesses and Mt. Zion was a part of the business family that held civil rights meetings.
The Fayette Street Historic Marker- which sits at the intersection of Fayette Street and Market Street in Uptown Martinsville, describes the rich history and heritage of the Fayette Street area. The district continues to represent the commercial and institutional center of the African American community in Martinsville as one of its oldest neighborhoods. Fayette Street has been a gateway to the business, social, and cultural life of African Americans in Martinsville, Virginia and Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church was considered one of the pillars of this community.
Mt. Zion has enjoyed the reputation of helping the community and has the reputation of being the oldest Black church in Martinsville and Henry County. Mt. Zion was served by the Reverends Thompson (1992-1998), Boyd (2000-2013), Harris (2011-2013), Hill (2013-2015), and Battle (2015-2018). The current pastor is Reverend Anthony Rogers and since his appointment in 2018, Mt. Zion has started a feeding ministry, a clothing ministry, and a tutoring ministry.
Rev. Douglas Bynum
Pastor, Mt. Zion AME Church - Martinsville