Shiloh Baptist Church, the first African-American Baptist church in Delaware, was formed in Wilmington in 1874 and had 21 charter members. In 1874, Rev. Thomas M. Eastwood was the pastor of First Baptist Church, a local white church. After that church’s return to the Philadelphia Baptist Association, Rev. Eastwood and members of his congregation started a Sunday School for local African-American people. Early in 1875, members of the Sunday School group assembled in the dining room of Annie M. Anderson to discuss plans to create a new church comprised of African-American members.
In addition to Sister Anderson, this group consisted of Maggie Blakely, Maggie Mitchell, Jacob Galloway, Jefferson Crayton, Louisa Crayton, George L. Hall, Sarah Hall, Jeremiah Miller, William M. Winston, John Banks, Monroe Lord, John W. Jackson, Mary Henderson, Susie Henderson, George Taylor, and Hattie Dumpson. Later that year, Rev. Benjamin T. Moore of Charleston, West Virginia, a student at Wayland Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.—now Virginia Union University—answered the call to pastor this group of church workers. The Church was formally organized on May 31, 1876.
Originally, the members met in a rented building, the Old Masonic Hall on West Twelfth Street, between Market and Orange Streets. That meetinghouse quickly became too small and the Church endeavored to build a new one. The first meeting place purchased by the Church was located on the corner of Twelfth and Orange Streets in Wilmington. It was purchased in 1877 and building operations commenced in 1881. The building was dedicated in 1885.
In January 1946, the Church purchased the former home of the East Baptist Church on Fifth and Walnut Streets. Members of the Church worshiped there until the City of Wilmington’s redevelopment project required Shiloh to move again.
In 1971, the Church approved the purchase of property on the corner of Twenty-Third and Washington Streets. In June 1972, the Church formally occupied its third building and present location.
In its 130-year history, the Church has only had eight pastors. Rev. Benjamin T. Moore served as pastor from the Church’s founding until his death in 1928. Rev. Robert R. Richardson served as pastor from 1928 to 1930. Rev. Arthur R. James served as pastor from 1931 to 1943. Rev. Percy Lipscombe served as pastor from 1943 to 1949. Rev. W. Lymon Lowe served as pastor from 1949 to 1957. Rev. Dr. William E. Manley served as pastor from 1958 until his death in 1990. Rev. Christopher Thomas Sims served as pastor from 1991 to 1995. Finally, Rev. Dr. Clifford Izola Johnson has served as pastor from 1997 until the present.