The history of Little Rock A.M.E. Zion Church is so grand and glorious that the essence of its greatness can never be
fully captured or retold. So many courageous, dedicated and visionary men and women have made immeasurable
contributions to this bright “Star of Zion” that only small highlights can be shared.
Little Rock A.M.E. Zion Church was organized in the backyard of Mrs. Mary Ann Hunter after pulling out from the old Clinton Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church in 1884. The first church in reality was a little house sitting on a rock, hence the name, Little Rock. The original church property was purchased for a sum of four hundred and twenty five dollars on May 31, 1884 (corrected deed filed June 10, 1893). In 1906, under the pastorate of Rev. W.R. Douglas, the frame structure was moved across Seventh Street. The moving process was so slow that services and even a funeral were conducted while the church was in the middle of the street. The brick edifice, which is now the Little Rock A.M.E. Zion Community Development Center, was completed in 1911 under the administration of Rev. Douglas.
The edifice was a blended manifestation of the turn of the century Greek and Romanesque architectural style. J. M. McMichael, was the architect of several imposing buildings in this community including Spirit Square, St. John’s Baptist Church, and Myers Park Presbyterian Church. The old Little Rock Church building is a remarkable remainder of an exuberant expression of faith and commitment of God’s people to God’s glory. The new Sanctuary and Educational wing were completed in October 1981. Rev. William White led members and friends in a reverent and stately procession from the Old Little Rock Church into the new edifice on Sunday, December 6, 1981. Clinton E. Gravely, an American of African descent, was the designer of this building. His trademark of exposed wood and natural stone is prominent in the present place of worship.
In May 2008, the groundbreaking celebration for the addition to the Little Rock campus was held under the pastorate of Dr. Dwayne A. Walker. Little Rock has been truly blessed with ardent and eloquent pastors of which two became bishops, Bishop J. C. Hoggard and Bishop George J. Leake, III. After Bishop Leake assumed the Episcopacy, Rev. William White was appointed as pastor, erecting the present building. Dr. James R. Samuel followed Rev. William White, making improvements to the Church and Educational Wing. In 2005, Dr. Dwayne A. Walker was appointed pastor and has since regained possession of the old church building, established plans to add a Family Life Center and provided leadership to facilitate a partnership between the Little Rock Community Development Corporation and the Charlotte City Council to build affordable housing on the campus.