Date Founded: 1865
The church traces its roots back to 1865 when Methodist missionaries organized the first black Methodist church in Alexandria. St. James Methodist Episcopal Church, as it was called then, was led by Rev. Samuel Small. The first wood-framed church building was constructed on the corner of Seventh and Murray Streets.
In 1902, a new brick church was built under the leadership of Rev. Peter W. Clark. The name was changed at that time to Newman Memorial in honor of Bishop J.P. Newman. The church grew, but was surrounded by other businesses so new space was needed.
Rev. W.T. Handy led the drive to relocate in the 1950s. The new $120,000 church was finished by 1955. The congregation had paid off the debt by 1963 under Rev. Samuel W. Walker’s leadership.
With the construction of I-49, a move needed to be made in 1989. While working on the new facilities, the congregation met at the Chapel of the Winnfield Funeral Home. The year 1992 saw the completion of the new religious complex.
Newman is proud to have produced four ministers: James A. Williams, Patrick Perry, Abraham Davis, and Bertrand Griffin.