Woodlawn Baptist Church and Cemetery

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Woodlawn Baptist Church and Cemetery
Woodlawn Baptist Church and Cemetery, also known as Woodlawn Missionary Baptist Church, is an U.S. historic location in Nutbush, Haywood County, Tennessee. It is on Woodlawn Road, south of Tennessee State Route 19. For its historical significance, Woodlawn Baptist Church and Cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. Woodlawn Baptist Church was a family church of singer Tina Turner.

History

Establishment in 1866
The church was established in 1866 by freed slaves of the community and members of the white Woodlawn Baptist Church. Most slave congregations were ministered by white pastors but in 1846, the young slave Hardin Smith of Virginia was allowed to preach to a slave congregation at the white Woodlawn Church, then located near Woodlawn Road, establishing the first area congregation pastored by a slave.

Education for freed slaves
Hardin Smith was secretly taught to read and write through the Bible by his owner's wife. He in turn secretly taught the community of slaves to read and write. Following slavery, through census reports, there were more freed slaves in Haywood County, Tennessee who could read and write than anywhere in the state of Tennessee. They helped establish schools and colleges for black citizens in Tennessee and some became state representatives, writers, ministers, doctors, lawyers, and teachers.

More churches organized
The community leader Smith, organized six churches in Haywood and Lauderdale counties including Woodlawn Missionary Baptist Church in Nutbush.

National Register of Historic Places
In 1996, Woodlawn Baptist Church and Cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places for its historical significance.

Tina Turner Highway
Woodlawn Baptist Church is located 3 mi (4,8 km) southeast of Nutbush, south of Tennessee State Route 19. A stretch of State Route 19 between Brownsville and Nutbush was named " Tina Turner Highway" in 2002 after singer Tina Turner who spent her childhood in Nutbush. Woodlawn Baptist Church in Nutbush was a family church of Tina Turner. She attended and sang in the choir growing up. Her family members were church officials, musicians and singers who are buried in the cemetery.