Mount Olive Church in Hartford is on Battles Street. It was home in the 1960s to the street’s namesake, Reverend Richard Battles, a civil rights leader and Arkansas native. He once brought a group from the church to march with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — his friend — in Selma, Alabama.
Rev. Battles was known for his thundering sermons on racial justice and equality.
“We’re a big family,” said Deacon Fred Williams of the nearly 700-member church community. “We love each other — a very loving atmosphere. That’s how we’re respected here. We do a lot for the community, especially around the holidays.”
Mount Olive is now a vital support for the community it serves. The historic Baptist church, founded in 1917, provides public transportation to its members who need it, and offers a day care program adjacent to the church.
In this episode of Radius we’ll bring you inside Mount Olive, and spend time handing out Thanksgiving meals with the parishioners.
We visit a barber shop near the church called It’s a Gee Thang, where the owner Gee not only trims beards and shaves faces, he also facilitates conversations about community. As soon as someone is sitting in his chair, Gee is mentoring him.
We also stop by the Green House, which those in the neighborhood know as part of the Hartford Catholic Worker. Any kid can walk in the door and get a meal, play games, and find caring adults. It’s been that way for years, and has drastically changed some people’s lives for the better.
Mount Olive Church Extras:
It’s a Gee Thang Barbershop on Hartford’s Main Street has been around since 1995. They do a lot more for the community than just cut hair. Learn more »
Listen to more audio from the Mount Olive radius:
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