“Church square north” includes two historically African-American churches. The northern area of the square includes Washington Avenue Baptist Church and Benton Avenue AME Church.
In the north area bounded by Central, Benton, Washington Avenue and Brower Street (currently Bob Barker Boulevard), the Benton Avenue African Methodist Episcopalian Church (AME) was organized in 1872. In 1926, the current two-story brick building was completed.
Washington Avenue Baptist Church, organized in 1867 as a mission by members of the white congregation of the First Baptist Church, was called Second Baptist Church (Colored). The church was renamed Washington Avenue Baptist Church to remove two stigmas: the use of the term “colored,” and eliminating Second Baptist Churches as inferior “offshoots” of First Baptist Churches. The church was later moved 300 feet north on Washington Avenue so that Drury University could build a new science center. The church is now the Drury University Diversity Center.