The oldest African-American Baptist church in the nation, First Baptist Church had a very humble beginning in Prince George County when a group of Blacks known as the New Lights gathered for worship. In 1756 Elders William Murphy, Phillips, and Mackey preached to the scattered members of New Lights. However, in 1774, the Rev. John Michaels united them and formed a regular Baptist Church known as the First African Baptist Church. Later this organization moved to Petersburg, VA and a house of worship was built on Harrison Street near the present location; Elder John Benn was pastor. This house was a victim of fire and the congregation moved to Oak Street.