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The first black church, in Hickman, Fulton County, KY, was organized in 1867, by a group of newly freed slaves. These men were Warren Thomas, the leader and organizer, Cato Thomas, Valentine Matson, Samuel Tyler, Henry Clark . The group signed a promissory note for $242.99 to purchase the church site from the East Hickman Operation, a local land development company owned by whites. Blacks were now receiving pay for their labor. However, in 1867 the Freedmen’s Bureau, under the auspices of the federal government, paid the balance due making Thomas Chapel the rightful owner of the church site. The church officially opened in 1869. The very first educational classes for blacks were held in the basement in 1870. The building was destroyed by fire in 1874. A temporary building was erected in 1880 but it would be 21 years (1898) before a permanent structure was erected. This 1898 building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. It now houses the Warren Thomas Black History Museum, operated by the Warren Thomas Historical Society
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