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Seek and You Will Find

Old Grace Baptist Church location at 240 South Eighth Avenue
Courtesy of Grace Baptist Church

The Search for the Five Women of Grace Baptist Church

For her Masters’ Thesis, Rachel Pilgrim, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism ’20, set out to discover the names of the five women who founded Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, NY in the year 1888. She received Honors for this project in May 2020. Using historical archives, old newspaper clippings, and the expertise of a few Grace members here is what she found.

The Seek and You Will Find project caught the attention of The New York Times’ Race Related vertical. Rachel wrote an essay about her search, which was published on October 17, 2020. It quickly became an Editors’ Pick on the NYT homepage and went viral on social media.

Check out the essay here.

Click here for a moving timeline of Grace Baptist Church’s early history.

Click here for an interactive map of the early neighborhood.