Eighth Street Baptist Church's rich history began when former slaves migrated to Temple. Texas to seek employment with the Santa Fe Railroad. The Rev. L.J. Mackey, an itinerant Baptist preacher came to Temple as part of that migration with a dream to establish a church.
His dream became Saint Love All Baptist Church. It was initially located near the present downtown area of Temple and eventually moved to Eighth Street.. The church name changed to First Baptist (Colored) Church and later Eighth Street Baptist Church.
Many pastors have proclaimed the uncompromising Word of God from the pulpit of Eighth Street Baptist over the past 134 years. A few of the memorable pastors have included Reverends T.E. George, D.T. Trammel, Alfred C. Stapleton and Demotis Sherman.
The Rev. Roscoe C. Harrison, Jr. and his wife, Sandra Kay Smitha Harrison came to lead Eighth Street's Christian journey in 2002. Rev. Harrison came out of the print and broadcast media.
Sister Harrison is a former educator who leads the Women's Missionary Union and serves as a vice president of the Texas Woman's Auxiliary of the Texas State Missionary Baptist Convention.
Over Rev. Harrison's 14 years as pastor there has been some significant progress. The church now has adopted the slogan, "A Friendly Church." Eighth Street has developed an outreach ministry. The ministry includes participation in the Salvation Army's Feed My Sheep program, Young Probationers project with First Presbyterian Church of Temple, Meals on Wheels, communion for the sick and shut-in members and nursing home visitations.
Eighth Street is also the East Temple site of Temple College's GED program.
Eighth Street has also experience some structural changes. The sanctuary and other rooms in the church have been renovated and a new parking lot has been realized. The Transportation ministry has been upgraded with the addition of a new van to transport members to various events and to provide transportation for members who do not have vehicles.
The church's dream and desire for the future is the construction of a family life center which will give opportunities for additional ministry and activities.
Rev. Harrison is a progressive and believes that there must be a vision for the future and he firmly believes we can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength.