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In 1888, five Negro Baptist women, with great faith and courage founded Grace Baptist Mission in   Mount Vernon, New York. Mount Vernon became home to blacks who left the south in   search of a better life. In the places from which they had come, there was an   old familiar institution which had held the southern black communities together;   the church. The “promised land” could not be God’s land without God’s church.   Thus, these five instruments of God, knowing that “faith is the substance of   things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”, began God’s work that was to   become the Grace Baptist Church of today with more than 3000 faithfuls calling   it home.

Grace Baptist   Mission began humbly in faith. Its five members desiring to   “awaken religious interest in their people,” rented the annex of Willard Hall on   South Third Avenue. They pooled their small savings to pay the rent and before   long, through God’s mercy, they receive help from persons interested in the   Mission.

Soon after the Mission was   founded, a Sunday School was begun with persons of all ages   enrolled. The Sunday School expanded its work by conducting weekly industrial   classes. These classes were the outreaching hands to aid and prepare the newly   arrived blacks for job opportunities in the surrounding areas. As the small   Grace Baptist Mission toiled to reach the growing population of Mount Vernon,   God again sent help from the neighboring First Baptist Church.

In July 1891, the members of First Baptist   Church held a meeting to make plans for the adoption of the work of the mission.   As a result of the meeting, a subscription campaign was started for the purpose   of buying a lot and erecting a chapel to house Grace Baptist Mission. In this   connection, Miss Martha Wilson, founder of the Martha Wilson Home, donated a lot   at Eighth Avenue and Third Street to First Baptist Church in 1892. Grace Baptist   Mission called its first pastor, the Reverend J.L. Montague in October 1893.   Under the leadership and spiritual guidance of Reverend Montague the Mission   grew at a steady pace. Both the congregation and the Sunday School grew rapidly,   an indication that the black population of Mount Vernon was growing at the same   rate.


Martha Wilson Miss Martha Wilson   donated the land at Eighth Avenue and Third Street to build Grace   Baptist Mission in 1894