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GEORGE KENNEDY: Conversation About Race Moves Into Action

Missouri School of Journalism

The Second Missionary Baptist Church has been, for all of its 151 years, central in the life of Columbia’s African American community.

The land on which the church is built was given by businessman John Lange Sr., a freed slave whose wife and children had been owned by the university president. A construction loan came from our nationally famous ragtime pianist J.W. “Blind” Boone.

In the 1920s, it was the church of James T. Scott, decorated World War I veteran and university janitor who was lynched at the Stewart Road Bridge.

Under the pastorship of the Rev. Clyde Ruffin, a retired university professor and First Ward representative on the Columbia City Council, the church now is playing a central role as well in the civic well-being of Columbians of all races and religions.

Read the complete column online at the Missourian.