This collection was acquired as part of the East Side History Project in collaboration between the SUNY Buffalo State Archives & Special Collections and the UB Center for Urban Studies. This project was made possible in part by a grant from the Documentary Heritage Program of the New York State Archives, a program of the State Education Department. A special thank you to Machelle Smith without which Pilgrim's digitization could not have been completed as successfully.
On a Thursday evening, in the Spring of 1934, a small group of men and women left the fellowship of the Friendship Baptist Church which was pastored by the late Rev. Twilus Davis. The following Wednesday, Willie Gibson called a meeting at the home of Bm. Cleveland Allen at 222 Jefferson Avenue. A group of approximately thirty men and women met to discuss the idea of forming a Mission Group. The blessing of the Lord seemed to rest on the hearts of these troubled souls. The group continued to meet during the summer months of 1934 for the purpose of raising funds, solidarity and spiritual development. In August of that same year, the name Pilgrim Baptist Church, as submitted by Rosa Poole, would become the name of their future church. An organizing committee was formed shortly thereafter. Rev. B. C. McCarly, the pastor of St. John's Baptist Church, was sought by the early members to provide guidance in establishing the church. The missionary group selected various members to join and obtain letters for the purpose of organizing the church. At the Western New Your Baptist District Association meeting Rev. B. C. McCarly submitted the recommendation for organization of the Pilgrim Baptist Church. The recommendation was then perfected by Rev. Phillips and carried. On September 19, 1934, at Jefferson Avenue, a "reality" was realized when the church elected its first officers: the late Rev. R. D. Harris was acting pastor, Mr. O. C. Madkins: Chairman of the Deacon Board, Mr. Willie Gibson: Chairman of the Trustee Board, Mr. Zenobia Alexander: Church Clerk, Mrs. Frances Moore: Financial Secretary, and Mr. James Ingram: Poor Saint Treasurer. -taken from the 1994 Church History publication created as part of the 60th anniversary celebration