Abyssinian Baptist Church. One of the oldest, largest, and most influential Protestant congregations in the United States. It traces its origins to 1808, when a few free black parishioners left the First Baptist Church of New York City because they were unwilling to accept racially segregated seating in a house of worship. Together with a group of Ethiopian merchants, they established themselves in a building on Anthony Street (later Worth Street). After meeting in a series of buildings on Anthony, Thompson, and Spring streets, the congregation moved to Waverly Place and then to 40th Street. In 1908 Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., a young preacher from New Haven, Connecticut, became the pastor. Under his leadership the congregation in 1920 purchased lots on 138th Street between Lenox and Seventh avenues in Harlem. After a successful tithing campaign to which 2000 members responded, a cavernous Gothic and Tudor structure, replete with imported stained- glass windows and an Italian marble pulpit, was dedicated on 17 June 1923. In 1937, by which time the congregation had grown to 7000 members, Powell gave up the pastorate in favor of his only son, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. An intrepid preacher and civil rights leader who also served 14 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, the younger Powell made Abyssinian what he called the “church of the masses,” combining the Christian message of justice and equality with the militant oratory of liberation. Powell’s successors, Samuel DeWitt Proctor and Calvin O. Butts III, continued his tradition of po liti cal activism. In the early twenty- first century the church continued to serve thousands of communicants each week, many of them attracted by the superb choir and the 67- rank organ. The New York Philharmonic has performed at the church, as have such internationally acclaimed musicians as Leontyne Price and André Watts.