There are many fathers of all ethnicities to remember on Father’s Day. The list of those who contributed to making Long Beach what it is today is vast, including many mentioned in my latest book African Americans in Long Beach and Southern California: a History. But what of those who never became a father, but left so much love and devotion behind? Such is the story of Reverend Thurston Lomax, minister of the Second Baptist Church of Long Beach, who became a beacon of hope in the Long Beach African American community.
One of Long Beach’s best-loved ministers, Thurston Lomax, took over ministerial duties of the Second Baptist Church in what was then known as the “Negro District” (today Central Long Beach) in February 1939. The church, founded in 1903, had moved from Atlantic and 10th in 1912, following a property dispute with the Second Baptist Church of Los Angeles. The congregation’s new home at 943 New York, would not become part of Long Beach until 1923. The Second Baptist Church, and later Grant AME, became the focal points of the African American community.