Back in the early fifties there came into the state a free-born Negro Baptist preacher from Ohio. His name was John Jones, generally known by the people of Shreveport as "John the Baptist."
In 1856 on account of his intellectual, moral and scriptural qualifications he was adjudged worthy, and ordained to the work of the ministry by the following white presbytery: Elders W. H. Stokes, George Tucker, Jesse Lee and A. J. Rutherford. After a few years of successful labor, preaching to the slaves and wherever opportunity permitted, he was called to the pastorate of the First Colored Baptist Church, Shreveport, La., in 1866, immediately after its organization by Bishops Tucker and Wm. H. Baliss (white). Antioch is the present name of this church. This pioneer preacher accomplished much here, both teaching and preaching to the people. He was the first or among the first colored teachers of Shreveport. He labored hard but successfully in establishing the first schools in North Louisiana for the Negro.
Dr. Wm. Paxton, historian of Louisiana white Baptists, says that Elder Jones possessed wonderful gifts, and that he exercised great influence over his race. He did more to preserve order among the Negroes of Shreveport than did the police force. Being a free man he fell under the operation of a law, during the war, putting all free persons of color, not natives of the state under heavy penalties. He went North for a while but it was found that the influence of his example was so essential in preserving order among the colored people that the Legislature, then in session at Shreveport, passed a SPECIAL act recalling him to Louisiana, when he gladly returned to his home and people. This peacemaker proved himself a Henry Clay and a Booker T. Washington in allaying the bitterness and strife and harmonizing the races. After a five-years' useful pastorate at Antioch, and after serving well Shreveport in general,
"A voice at midnight came,
He started up to hear;
A mortal arrow pierced his frame,
He fell but felt no fear,"
on February 23, 1877.
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