|CEPA Gallery is proud to present We've Come This Far: The Abyssinian Baptist Church, a photographic exhibition by Buffalo native Bob Gore detailing the history and congregation of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York.
In 1808, four sailors from Abyssinia, the former name of Ethiopia, visited the port of New York while on a merchant voyage. They were part of an ancient Christian East African church and during their visit, they sought a place to worship. They chose the only Baptist church in the city, located on Gold Street in lower Manhattan. As was the custom of the day, Blacks were not allowed to worship with Whites and the African visitors were led to the slave loft. These sailors who refused to accept segregated worship left the service in protest and were joined by a fellow worshipper, Rev. Thomas Paul, a Harvard trained preacher from Boston, Massachusetts. In the ensuing months, they pooled their resources, and in June of 1808, bought property and established the Abyssinian Baptist Church.
-excerpt from exhibition pamphlet. Bob Gore
|Copies of We've Come This Far are available at CEPA Gallery.
Since its founding in 1808 in Harlem, New York, the Abyssinian Baptist Church has become one of the most influential centers of black spirituality in the United States. It has acted as a house of prayer and progress, leading its parishioners from pre-Civil War America to post-Civil Rights America. The church is currently led by Pastor Dr. Calvin O. Butts, a leader who has emerged as a national advocate for issues facing Black communities across America.
We've Come This Far features photographs and text panels created by Robert L. Gore Jr., a member of the Abyssinian Baptist Church for twenty years and the church's official photographer for the last decade. Over the last twenty years, Mr. Gore has been an active participant in numerous aspects of the church's administrative life through service in various clubs and on standing committees. He now serves as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Mr. Gore is the president of Bob Gore Productions (BGP), a television program sales company in New York City with clients across the United States.