Updated: Sep 12, 2022
Morning Star Baptist Church
As our survey has gotten to know some of the sites and community members of East Pasco, we understand the importance of Morningstar Baptist Church to the history of the Black community. Sites in East Pasco associated with the African American experience have national importance due to their association with the Hanford project and the contributions of the Black workers and engineers in the community who worked on the highly secret project in an adverse and highly segregated atmosphere.
The existing Historic Property Inventory for the Morningstar Church by surveyor Dana Holschuh in 2019 says:
“The Morning Star Baptist Church has been and continues to be at the literal and figurative center of the African-American community in East Pasco. As that community has grown and changed over the decades, the Morning Star Baptist Church has remained at its heart. The church, which was the first African American church in the neighborhood, was started in 1946 by its first pastor, Reverend Johnnie Steward, in order to provide for the spiritual needs of the thousands of black workers who came to Hanford Atomic Facility during and after World War II, and who settled in East Pasco as a result of the race policies that were in place at that time. A thriving enclave of black workers and their families was formed in this neighborhood and Reverend Steward started the church to foster family and community values. His daughter and her children were all lifelong members (Newman 2017).”
We are looking forward to furthering research and investigation into the historic black sites of East Pasco.