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A show of gratitude

The Lord works in mysterious ways, as the saying goes, and, were he here today, the Reverend Frank Quarles would, no doubt, offer his personal testament to that adage.

Like so many of his time, the Reverend Quarles was a former slave but he had also become an ordained minister and, as a freedman, he became a pastor and founded Atlanta’s Friendship Baptist Church. As Reverend Quarles related the story, he was in his church one afternoon praying that the Lord would help Atlanta’s negro women and children. He was interrupted by a knock on the door and opened it to find Sophia Packard and Harriet Giles.

The two women were representatives of the Woman’s American Baptist Home Mission Society and they had come to Atlanta with $100 in cash and pledges from the Medford, Massachusetts, First Baptist Church for additional funds. Their mission was to establish a school for African American women. As they say, the Lord works in mysterious ways.

With the enthusiastic help of the Reverend Quarles, who offered the use of his church as a classroom, Packard and Giles were able to establish the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary. The rest, as they also say, is part of Atlanta’s history.

Not familiar with the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary? Perhaps you should spend :60 seconds watching this week’s Stories of Atlanta.

Lance Russell

Lance Russell is an Atlanta-based filmmaker and media communicator who, for over three decades, has been entrusted by clients to tell their stories. A seasoned producer with an innate ability to cut to the heart of the matter, Lance’s instincts are tailor-made for today’s “media bite” culture. Brief, poignant and always entertaining, Lance’s current passion is bringing Atlanta’s colorful and inspiring past to life with his “rest of the story” style video series, Stories of Atlanta. “History’s best communicators,” says Lance, “have always been storytellers. It’s in our DNA. ‘Once upon a time’ is how we got to where we are now.”


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