Liberty Baptist Church of Chicago celebrated its 99th anniversary on Sunday, October 20. The celebration, which culminated during morning worship service, included a powerful message delivered by H. D. Cockerham, B.Th., D.D., Pastor Emeritus of Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Louisville, KY.
Other speakers during the celebration included 3rd Ward Alderman Pat Dowell, and Spencer Leak, Sr., president and CEO of A.R. Leak & Sons Funeral Home, and Trustee Emeritus of Liberty Baptist Church.
Liberty Baptist Church began 99 years ago in the home of Bertie Boone. After merging with two other churches as the Liberty congregation grew, Liberty moved to 56 East 46th Street with its fourth pastor, Rev. D. Z. Jackson. Under his leadership, the congregation blossomed to more than 2,000 parishioners. On July 9, 1950 a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new Liberty.
Liberty moved into its new home and current site at 4849 Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, on Thanksgiving Day, 1956. It has since been named as a landmark building for its gateway, arch-like architecture.
The landmark has played a pivotal role in shaping Chicago’s history. Many prominent speakers, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bishop Desmond Tutu, have spoken from the Liberty pulpit. Liberty also hosted one of the city’s largest rallies during the election campaign for Harold Washington, elected in 1982 as Chicago’s first Black mayor.
On November 11, 1994 Rev. Darrell L. Jackson was installed as Liberty’s pastor. He is the third generation Jackson to pastor Liberty Baptist Church of Chicago. He continues the legacies of his grandfather (Rev. D. Z. Jackson) and father (Rev. A. P. Jackson) with new programs and ordained deacons and trustees.
In 1997, Pastor Jackson spearheaded the launch of Vision House, a unique partnership between Liberty Baptist Church, Interfaith Housing Development Corporation, and Provident Hospital that provides housing for HIV/AIDS singles and families.