Historic, but not famous

Bob Spike, Civil Rights Activist

Robert Warren Spike (1923 – 1966) was a clergyman, theologian, and civil rights leader. Born in Buffalo, NY, he came to NYC while studying for the ministry. He began his career as pastor at the Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village in 1949, reviving the social activism of this famous urban church. During his time at the church, neighborhood kids played basketball in the church’s ramshackle gym and an interracial, international residence for students was established. Spike also helped to create an art gallery where artists could exhibit their unconventional works.

In 1958 Spike left his parish ministry to take on a national role as General Secretary of the United Church Board For Homeland Ministries. In 1963 he was appointed the Executive Director of the National Council of Churches’ Commission on Religion and Race, which became an important arm of the Civil Rights Movement. He worked with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.  and others in the movement.

In January 1966 Spike took a position as Professor of Ministry and Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. Less than a year after assuming his post in Chicago, Spike was bludgeoned to death at Ohio State University in Columbus on October 17, 1966. No one was ever tried for his murder; after a systematic review some church sources believe that he was assassinated.

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Historic, but not famous

Edward Judson, Baptist Minister in Greenwich Village

Edward Judson (1844-1914) was a Baptist clergyman. He started his work in the Baptist church in Orange NJ, but ended at the Berean Church, later as the Memorial Baptist, and finally as the Judson Memorial. The church is located on the South Side of Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village.

Minister Judson was very successful in recruiting people to the Berean Church after the Civil War that a larger space became necessary. In 1888, with the backing of John D. Rockefeller and other prominent Baptists, construction of the church on the south side of the park was begun. The church building was designed by architect Stanford White, with stained-glass windows by John La Farge. Judson dedicated the building to his father, a missionary in Burma for the protestant church. As well as worship and religious education, the church offered health-care and outreach ministries to non-members as well as members.

After Judson’s death, the church offered first its basement and then rented its parish house on Thompson Street to Dr. Eleanor A. Campbell, a pioneering female physician who ran the Judson Health Center, a free medical and dental clinic in 1921. The church has been an integral part of the Greenwich Village neighborhood, inspired by the mission of Mr. Judson. It has run mission homes for the homeless, worked with Veterans, artists, drug addicts, homosexuals, AIDs victims, at risk youth and immigrants. It continues the ideas of being part of a community.

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Historic, but not famous

Marble Collegiate Church – Dutch Reformed Church

Everardus Bogardus (1607 – 27 September 1647) was the second minister of the Dutch Reformed Church, the oldest established church in present-day New York, which was then located on Pearl Street (Manhattan) at its first location built in 1633, the year he came to New Amsterdam.

Rev. Bogardus frequently called out the Governor Willem Kieft and prominent citizen Otto Von Twiller from the pulpit for their running of the colony and public drunkeness. He died in a shipwreck while returning to Amsterdam on church business, but his descendants have also made their mark on NYC, including James Bogardus, who pioneered in the construction of cast-iron buildings during the 1840s.

You can find a street named after the family in the Fort Tryon section of Manhattan.

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