Originally known as Beale Street Baptist Church First Baptist Church, Lauderdale, began in 1865 as the first black Baptist church in West Tennessee. In 1877, it split from Beale Street Baptist. Through a legal action in 1894, it was authorized to retain the original 1865 charter and status as the First Baptist Church. The first pastor, the Rev. Morris Henderson, focused on education, ethics, and racial harmony.
Later, Dr. T.O. Fuller served as pastor. An educator, author, and advocator of racial adjustment, he organized the Inter-Racial League. In 1939, church official utilized windows from its 1906 building when they relocated the church to this post-civil war site. In 1954, the church was officially renamed First Baptist Church, Lauderdale. During the 1950s and 1960s, civil rights leaders used the church to develop movement strategies.