Black history runs deep at Second Baptist

FD church will host virtual service Sunday

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Second Baptist Church, 1827 Fourth Ave. S., is pictured Friday afternoon as sun rays shine brightly. The church is hosting a virtual Black history service on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Black inventors played key roles in developing things like the elevator, open heart surgery and the cell phone.

Charlene Washington, of Fort Dodge, will talk about some of those famous inventions during a virtual Black History Service on Sunday hosted by Second Baptist Church. The service will begin at 1 p.m.

“Black people have invented a lot,” said Washington, one of the oldest members of Second Baptist Church. “They have done so much.”

Washington has promoted Black history in Fort Dodge for over 50 years. She moved to the city from Mississippi in 1964. At that time, she started teaching Black history to the children at Second Baptist Church.

She has also compiled books of Black history in the area — one can be found at the Fort Dodge Public Library, while another is housed in the African-American Museum in Cedar Rapids.

In the 1970s, Washington started a petition to get Black teachers in Fort Dodge schools.

“When we got done, the superintendent got us five Black teachers in here to teach,” Washington recalled. “We had five Black teachers come and teach in the school system. I reached a goal. That was one of my goals in life.”

During the service, Washington will also explain the colors of the African flag and their meanings.

“Why Black people need to notice the colors they wear,” she said. “The colors of the African flag. Think about those colors in the flag and why you see you are wearing those colors.”

Washington will also reflect on the the Emancipation Proclamation and the civil rights movement during the 1960s.

“We should appreciate how far we’ve come,” she said.

Zac Nuzum, community mentor and activist, will talk about how everyone can do their part to end discrimination.

“Removing the crutch on both sides,” Nuzum said. “On the Black side, we have been through a lot of racism, discrimination and hate, but we are still here. So it’s time to get back up on our feet. For the other side, removing the crutch for those who say racism is a thing of the past. That may be so for certain people or certain areas, but it’s still a problem. Stand on your feet and look at the situation that is happening. There’s always going to be an excuse to lean on the past. We need to walk together.”

Nuzum will also highlight the importance of education.

“The biggest thing about the civil rights movement is they educated themselves,” Nuzum said. “We need to encourage the youth to understand their history and put in the work.”

Jayden Johnson, of Fort Dodge, a community activist; Bobby Pate, of Des Moines, I.M.A.G.E founder; and Chet Love, of Chicago will also speak during the service.

Sherry Washington, Second Baptist Church mission director, is looking forward to celebrating the rich history of the Black community.

“As one of the oldest Black Baptist churches in Iowa — at 134 years old, the Black history of Fort Dodge and Second Baptist Church runs deep,” Sherry Washington said. “Most of Fort Dodge Black families are affiliated to the church through membership. Someone in their family was or is a member. Grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, brothers or sisters — someone held membership.”

Sherry Washington said faith is what has brought the community together.

“Faith is strong in our families,” Sherry Washington said. “We believe it begins and ends there — faith.”

What: Second Baptist Church Virtual Black History Service

When: Sunday at 1 p.m.

Zoom Info:


Meeting ID: 842 7185 4143

Passcode: 549223

Or join by video.


Zac Nuzum, of Fort Dodge, community mentor and activist

Bobby Pate, of Des Moines, I.M.A.G.E founder

Jayden Johnson, of Fort Dodge, community activist

Chet Love, of Chicago, educator and coach

Charlene Washington, of Fort Dodge, one of the oldest living members of Second Baptist Church


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