Black History Month: 8 historically significant African American churches

A view of the 'Four Spirits' statue and the 16th Street Baptist Church, November 19, 2017, in Birmingham, Alabama. The statues memorialize the four victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Throughout the centuries of African American history, the Christian faith has been a central component of the culture and heritage of blacks in the United States.

In times when African Americans were barred from voting or holding public office, churches served as the area of community influence and impact over the culture at large.

Here are eight congregations, established at different times, places, and belonging to different denominations that hold great historical significance for a host of reasons, including influence over the broader culture, ties to prominent people, or tragic events.

They include the main pulpit of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the first official black congregation in New York, and the home church of the first African American president of the United States.

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