At The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, we simultaneously look back and look ahead to ensure that our work is authentic, relevant and at the forefront of the American experience. Because of you, we are curating and sharing our understanding of the nation’s revolutionary beginning and continuing our pursuit of a more perfect union.
Your generosity advances our education, preservation and civic engagement ambitions by:
- Ensuring our research is extensive, our interpretation and performances are world-class, and our stories reach and inspire all, not just a select few.
- Conserving and uncovering Colonial Williamsburg’s precious and vast resources, which provides the backbone of our educational mission.
- Informing and engaging guests onsite and digitally through citizenship and the still evolving legacy of the American experiment.
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First Baptist Church
Enslaved and free Black worshippers established First Baptist Church in 1776. Led by Reverend Gowan Pamphlet, it was the first church in America established by a Black congregation. After meeting secretly outside of Williamsburg, the first recorded mention of the church’s building is an 1818 tax record referring to the Baptist Meeting House. After a tornado destroyed that structure, it was replaced in 1856 by a larger brick building, which stood for 100 years until it was purchased and demolished by Colonial Williamsburg. The congregation relocated to nearby Scotland Street.
Archaeological exploration at the Nassau Street site has revealed thousands of artifacts, the foundation of the 1818 meeting house and dozens of burials. Plans are underway to reconstruct the original building by 2026, the 250th anniversary of the church’s founding. Along with the relocated home of the Williamsburg Bray School, the oldest surviving building in the United States dedicated to the education of Black children, the site will host programming exploring race, freedom and education.
“Each year new discoveries underline the continuous opportunity we have to expand the human stories we tell through site interpretation and programming and your support makes that opportunity a reality.”
The Royce R. And Kathryn M. Baker vice President of Education, Research and Historical Interpretation
“Donor support has really helped the Rare Breeds program. Because of your generosity Colonial Williamsburg has become North America’s largest breeder of the rare Cleveland Bay.”
The Bill and Jean Lane Director of Coach & Livestock
“Thank you for your support, generosity and commitment to preserving and sharing our nation’s complex, tragic, paradoxical, fascinating, inspiring, impactful and relevant history.”
—Katrinah Carol Lewis
Artistic Director, Actor/Interpreter
“My work would not be as rich, my resources not as complete without donor funding. Portraying someone as complex and contradictory as Ann Wager means that donor giving is vital.”
Nation Builder, Ann Wager
“Their support not only funds our work but motivates and inspires us to constantly push our research and work to better preserve and understand this amazing piece of American history. ”
Director of Historic Preservation
“The generous assistance of donors enables me and my team to continue research that expands our understanding of the past, contextualizes our present, and provides guidance for our future.”
—Peter Inker Ph.D.
Theresa A. & Lawrence C. Salameno Director of Historical Research and Digital History