This building has long served as the focal point of the religious and community life of Jacksonville's black citizens. The congregation was organized in July 1838 with six charter members, including two slaves belonging to Elias G. Jaudon. During the Civil War the church served as a hospital. In 1901, six individuals met in the church basement to form the Afro-American Life Insurance, the first black life insurance company chartered in Florida. Destroyed by the Great Jacksonville Fire of that year, the church was rebuilt in 1904. Its design incorporates both Romanesque Revival and Late Gothic Revival styles.