Rufus L. Perry’s Church: an image and a map

Here’s what I learned about Weeksville today, August 17, 2017:

So I knew a bit about Rufus L. Perry, Sr. A clergyman and a respected member of Brooklyn’s black community, he also founded a church. Today I came upon an image of the Messiah Baptist Church, a brief description of the church’s founding, and an address. Image and text from History of the Young People’s Baptist Union 1877 – 1889


The text reads: “Dean Street, near Troy Avenue.”

This building looks closer to Bergen than Dean (the one I’ve circled in the 1889 map below). But according to this description from the Brooklyn Eagle, (via the Brownstoner), the Messiah Baptist Church was “contiguous to the colored public school and the orphan asylum,” and the building I’ve circled is in fact, right next to the orphan asylum and the site of the old school (the corner lot, labeled “31”).

By the time this map was published, a new school building had gone up at Dean & Schenectady.

view larger map

The book also includes a brief description of Weeksville ca. 1890. This is helpful because people often ask: how many people lived there, for how long, and how big was the community? What were Weeksville’s boundaries?

“The colored element is largely represented, there being nearly five hundred colored persons in the section bounded north,by Herkimer Street ; south, by Butler Street ; west, by Albany Avenue, and east by Buffalo Avenue.”

Also see Judith Wellman’s book about Weeksville: Brooklyn’s Promised Land