"As during most of its existence, Springfield Church offered its members an oasis of calm and biblical spirituality during the turbulent antebellum era," historian Edward J. Cashin wrote in Old Springfield: Race and Religion in Augusta, Georgia.
Springfield, founded in 1787, is believed to be the nation's oldest continuously meeting black church.
In 1861, church members held a concert to raise money for Augusta's volunteer Confederate soldiers, perhaps because they had personal attachments to the men, according to Cashin.
One of the church members published The Colored American , one of the South's first black newspapers. Springfield was the birthplace of the Georgia Republican Party. The church also operated a burial society, providing early insurance-type benefits for its members.
The church was the birthplace of Morehouse College, an all-male black college in Atlanta that has graduated leaders such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Martin Luther King Sr., Maynard Jackson and Benjamin E. Mays.