Pictured with Rev. Fallin, Jr. are his wife (Mrs. Barbara) and a former student Marika Johnson
Individual picture of Rev. Greason proudly with his Negro Baseball Sport Coat
Rev. Greason guest at the head table
Rev. Fallin at the head of table with honorable guests
Dr. William H. Gleason, Pastor of the Bethel Baptist Church Berney Point, recently hosted the Centennial Celebration of the Baptist Education Association’s Banquet. Simultaneously the Easonian Baptist Bible College celebrated its origin in 1904, some 108 years ago!
Dr. Wilson Fallin, Jr. proudly recalled the history of the College from 1904 under the leadership of Reverend Charles Octavius Boothe and William Pettiford – cofounders of this historic biblical institute. Theology classes started at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.
Additionally Dr. Wilson Fallin, Jr. told us: “First our leader recognized the need for basic educational training in literacy, because many of our dedicated, religiously inspired, and sincerely committed people of God were in deep need of basic education; therefore before we could start formal theology training – basic educational training had to occur.”
The school curriculum consisted of basic education, some industrial arts, such as: sewing, music, liberal arts, Bible studies and theological classes. Additionally, Dr. Fallin stated, “We have come a long ways under adverse social, economic and political circumstances but we can not afford to stand still we must continue to grow, and continue God’s mission.”
It is interesting the way history converges on one night’s celebration: First The Baptist Education Association celebrates its 100 year of existence, second the Easonian Baptist Bible College celebrate its 108th year of existence and third the Bethel Baptist Church Berney Point, celebrates it 136 year of existence.
In reference to Bethel Baptist Church, Elder Joseph Harden proudly states: “… and we have only had six pastors in our 136 years – they don’t leave us and we do not run them away – praise God!” Speaking of Pastor Greason: Elder Harden says: “…he is 87 years old and is going strong – he has been with us almost half a century and he’s as healthy as a 50 year old. He does everything, he drives his car, he delivers strong emotional sermons, he’s a personal magnet – older, young, men and women are honored in his presence.”
Pastor Greason, the former pitcher for the National Negro Baseball League, retired from the St. Louis Cardinals Baseball team in 1954. Rev. Greason was a pitcher for the Birmingham Black Barons, the Nashville Black Vols, and the Asheville Blues. He also played baseball in Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1954, later retired from baseball and became a minister.
About 200 people attended the banquet from Birmingham and contiguous Jefferson County. Some of the noted personalities attending the events were:
Rev. Edmon Hullett, President Of the Education Association; Rev. L. J. Hubbard, Rev. Patrick Sellers, Rev. Ronnie Witherspoon, Rev. Edsel M. Davis, Rev. Frank Mungo, Dr. Bettie R. Davis, President of the Women Comportment and the Guest Speaker for the event was Rev. Vernon Swift, Pastor of Elizabeth Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa and President of the Alabama Baptist State Convention.