Original photograph of a Sunday school class at Metropolitan Methodist Episcopal Church, circa 1940s

[African American Interest] [Baltimore] Paul Henderson (photographer)

Baltimore: N.p., Circa 1940s. Vintage black and white photograph of a group of Sunday school students and teachers posing in front of Metropolitan Methodist Episcopal Church at 1210 West Lanvale Street in Baltimore. Blind stamp of photographer Paul Henderson to the bottom right corner. Circa 1940s.

Built by free Black Baltimorean Truman Pratt and his congregation over the course of ten years, Metropolitan Methodist Episcopal Church (then known as Orchard Street Church) officially opened its doors on Orchard Street in 1837. Orchard Street Church was renamed Metropolitan Methodist Episcopal Church in 1870, with a rapidly growing congregation of nearly 700 members, including two Sunday schools with 45 teachers and nearly 300 students. The church began to play a central role in the African American community of Baltimore, organizing and participating in conferences on politics, education, and civics, and even hosting the Washington Methodist Episcopal Conference in 1876. In 1927, the congregation decided to sell the Orchard Street property, moving to a larger location at Carrolton Avenue and West Lanvale Street, as captured in the photograph, where it remains to this day.

Born in Springfield, Tennessee, photographer Paul Henderson moved to Maryland in 1929, where he became the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper's first photojournalist, capturing racial segregation and early civil rights protests, as well as documenting everyday African American life in the city. He also became known for his portraits of important Black political figures in Baltimore, including later Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, NAACP Baltimore Branch president Lillie Mae Carroll Jackson, Mayor Theodore McKeldin, and journalist Carl Murphy. Of particular note are Henderson's photographs of businesses and people along Pennsylvania Avenue, a hub for African American culture and life in Baltimore in the 20th century.

10 x 8 inches. Very Good plus, moderately edgeworn and creased.

[Book #153578]