428 W Michigan Street
The building pictured above at 428 W Michigan Street was built gradually between the last few years of the 19th century and the first few decades of the 20th century. From its construction until the late 20th century, the building was home to Second Baptist Church.
The sanborn images from 1887, 1898, and 1915 demonstrate the physcial changes that occured before the current building was built. In 1887, a different church building stood at 428 W Michigan Street. This building belonged to the Zion M.E. Church and had a 65-foot tower at the front.
By the time the next sanborn map was made in 1898, the previous building had been torn down and work had started on the building of what was to become the home of Second Baptist. At the time, only the foundation had been built and work had been suspended. However, by 1915, the building had been completed enough to allow for services to be held with plans to complete it later.
Second Baptist Church
According to the Indiana Historical Society's manuscripts and archives, Second Baptist church was founded in 1846 by Reverend Charles Sachel. It was originally located on Missouri Street, between New York and Ohio. In 1851, the church's original building was destroyed by arson. Following this event, the church was rebuilt in the same location. However, as the congregation grew the building became too small and in 1898, the congregation decided to move, building a new church building on Michigan Street.
The church had a handful of prominent and influential pastors that enabled the church to continue to thrive. Despite going through multiple times of prosperity, the church also experienced financial hardships and decreases in memberships. In the 1980s and 1990s, the church began to decline in earnest as membership decreased due to the displacement of the church's members caused by IUPUI's expansion. According to the church's website, their pastor decided to sell the property on Michigan Street and relocate to a building on West Washington Street, resulting in the revitalization of the church and it's congregation. The move allowed for the church to flourish once more through the addition of new members and the opening of more ministries. During this relocation and redevelopment of Second Baptist Church, the church was renamed to Purpose of Life Ministries. In the early 2000s, the church relocated again to North Kessler Boulevard, the church's current location.
Pastor Moses Broyles
Moses Broyles was one of the most influential and best-known pastors of Second Baptist Church.
According to the Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, Moses Broyles was born in Maryland in 1826. When he was about four years old, he was enslaved by John Broyles. Moses spent the next 24 years on John Broyles' Kentucky plantation.
In 1933, the Indianapolis Recorder reported that Moses was raised by "kind white people who taught him how to read and write". This gave Broyles an upper hand as he was able to find work in a nearby city. The money he earned from his job was saved to purchase his freedom from his master. Once he was a "free" man, he was able to attend Eleutherian College in Indiana.
According to Hanover College, after attending Eleutherian College, Moses applied and was refused admission to Hanover due to his race. He then moved to Indianapolis where he began teaching at an elementary school for African American Children. Soon after he became the pastor at Second Baptist Church. Moses became heavily involved in working with his community and became an important prominent figure in the African American community.
Pastor Moses Broyles advocated for the rights of African Americans throughout his life. One of his first things he did was fight for the integration schools in Indianapolis. The Indiana Historical Society credits him for enrolling the first African American student, Mary Rann, in Shortridge High School. This success paved a path for him and others to fight for the integration of the school.
Pastor Broyles also helped officiate an interracial wedding which was illegal in Indiana at the time. This case appeared in the newspaper almost weekly with information on the trial. These articles were generally against the couple and debated whether or not Pastor Broyles should be charged for officiating the marriage. In 1873, the Indianapolis Journal published a statement by Moses Broyles in which he stated: "I do not feel guilty, because I have committed no crime...and the sentencing of Benjamin Brown to the State's prison for marrying Minnie Sullivan grew out of an old law which was enacted in the dark and wicked ages of slavery."
Additionally, Pastor Broyles helped combat racially motivated incarceration by helping to fund the bail for Robert Chism, who was accused of smearing coal tar on a house. The Indianapolis Daily Herald further contributed to the racial tensions this trial brought by reporting Robert Chism as a "congo savage."
Moses Broyles passed away in 1883, at the age of 57. Although Second Baptist Church had many pastors after Broyles, he had a tremendous impact on the community.
428 W Michigan Street Today
Even though the church has relocated, the building was redeveloped to become part of apartment complex. The image above shows what the building looks like in 2019. Even though the structure is nearly the same architecturally and physically, due to IUPUI's expansion, the history and memories that once were represented by this building are little known today.
Written by Katia Avila Vasquez
Edited by Hannah Ryker, March 20, 2020