Phillippi Baptist celebrates Black History Month

From Staff Reports

   The Cedar Grove Foundation and the Phillippi Missionary Baptist Church of Elizabethton recently celebrated Black History Month with the dedication of the second state historical marker acknowledging and recognizing the history and accomplishments of African Americans in Carter County.
   Phillippi's founding father, Horace Leftwich, was born in Campbell County, Va., in 1846 and was owned by various individuals. Leftwich and his mother, brothers and sisters were all eventually sold on an auction block in Lynchburg, Va., in 1865.
   At the end of the Civil War, Leftwich was brought to Tennessee by Lt. William McQueen of the 13th Regiment, Tennessee Calvary. Both Leftwich and McQueen settled in Johnson County. Lt. McQueen still has descendants in Johnson County.
   A couple of years later, Leftwich traveled to Carter County and realized that Baptist churches did not exist for "people of color." Having a Baptist preacher for a father during the days of slavery, Leftwich knew the importance of soul saving, so with that in mind he searched various counties and communities to rally his cause.
   Leftwich is responsible for assisting and establishing churches throughout this area. He began in Johnson County and Bluff City. He made his way to Elizabethton to establish the Phillippi Missionary Baptist Church, and to Johnson City, where he began Thankful Baptist Church. Phillippi Missionary Baptist Church is one of five original churches that established the Watauga Association of Baptists.
   In his memoirs, Leftwich spoke of his life experiences and the events that he witnessed, including the Battle of Charleston Harbor. Leftwich stated that he saw Major Anderson fold the Bonnie Blue Flag and make a shawl out of it. He spoke of Fort Sumter and the events that happened there.
   The historical marker dedication garnered the support of community leaders from across the area, a news release states. Attendees included the Rev. Carl Bragg, Moderator of the Bethel District Missionary and Educational Association, and the Rev. Edward S. Robinson, President of the Tennessee Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention, Inc.
   Mrs. Wilhelmina Banks, owner and curator of the Nyumba Ya Tausi (Peacock Museum), Bristol, Va., was the guest of honor. Speakers included Mrs. Teresa Reddick of Brown's Chapel AME Zion Church and Nathaniel Watson from St. Paul United Methodist Church (Phillippi's sister church since 1901) were speakers.