Book: The History of Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
“I-85 came from this way, I-85 came from that way, and this was obliterated”
C.P. Everett, IV reminisces on his west Montgomery childhood home, in the neighborhood once called Peacock Tract.
The neighborhood is home to the historic Mt. Zion AME Zion church, a place widely known as the meeting spot that started the Montgomery Bus boycott.
Over the years Mt. Zion Pastors have been known as giants in the civil rights movement…
“You can’t talk about just one pastor , they’ve been in leadership in the forefront, for a very long time,”says Rev. Claude A. Shuford, current Pastor of the Church.
Peacock Tract was a prominent black community, but the construction of the I-85/ I-65 interchange decimated the community, and the church eventually relocated to what is now Fred D. Gray Avenue.
“When those highway systems were put in place it caused what i would call the Montgomery Diaspora, the members of Mt. Zion who were in walking distance were then scattered all over the city”
Everetts book celebrates the churches journey and leadership from 1866 to 1956.
The book also traces the evolution of the Peacock tract community from a 100 acre plantation, to a civil rights beacon.
“West Montgomery, a place that was once a slave plantation a place of enslavement which has become the birthplace of the leadership of the modern day civil rights movement,” says Everett.
“This booklet, is certainly going to help our school systems, its going to help America,” echoed Rev. Shuford.
The church is in the process of restoring the historic orginal church , now called the Mt. Zion AME Zion Memorial Annex to be developed into a museum.
The west side of Montgomery is still feeling the effects of the interstate system today.
Many people claim that the area was chosen for the interchange as a way to force black leaders out of their homes and shut down two prominent churches in the community, one of them being Mt Zion AME Zion church…
Books cost $35 dollars and all of the proceeds go towards restoring the original building and supporting the church’s mission.
Books can be purchased online with givlify or cashapp just search “Mt. Zion AME Zion church” and message the word “book.